Several readers who responded to Monday’s Stan Levey book recommendation singled out his work on “Bebop” as one of the greatest modern jazz drum performances. They will get no argument here. Samples:
I’m thrilled every time I hear Stan Levey!—David Robinson
He was a jazz giant!—Bruce Howard
I’m sure I don’t have to tell you what a colorful character he was and , of course, one of the greatest of all bebop drummers.— Charlie Shoemake (by email)
Dizzy Gillespie based “Bebop” on the Gershwins’ “I Got Rhythm,” the harmonic source for—at last count—1,532 jazz “originals.” It is impossible to know whether any band ever played the piece faster than the all-star group nominally led by Gillespie for a recording session that Norman Granz put together for his Verve label. It seems unlikely. In the book, Levey is quoted a couple of times on the long enmity between him and Sonny Stitt, but the For Musicians Only album has no evidence of it. .
Levey, drums; Stitt, alto saxophone; Gillespie, trumpet; Stan Getz, tenor saxophone; John Lewis, piano; Ray Brown, bass; Herb Ellis, guitar. October 16, 1956.
For Musicians Only; an essential repertoire item.