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Gig Schedule - Reviews/Press


October 2008

Here is Lev's written response to interview questions put by Charles Sawyer regarding the new DVD to be released 'BB King Live in Zaire Africa 1974':

I remember this concert and those times as a one time, very unique historical event. Ten years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Don King and Lloyd Price produced a heavyweight championship fight between Muhammad Ali & George Foreman and a three day concert by the cream of the crop of American artists, in the new country of Zaire, Africa no less! It was an epicenter celebration of Black sports, music and entrepreneurship. I don’t believe there’s been anything like it since or ever will be again.

It was a non-stop no holes barred party from the time we assembled at JFK in a brand new chartered 747 until we returned home some ten days later. Well, there were some delays. James Brown’s ego and his numerous wardrobe containers could not possibly fit into the plane. He refused to scale down either and the plane was overloaded with excess weight, our departure was late by 8-10 hours, much to the dismay of all. He lived up to his new given name that day, ‘As-Soul Brother #1’.

The Fania Latin All-Stars were incredible party people. I can’t recall anytime they weren’t partying, singing, dancing, jamming, eating & drinking simultaneously. Fred Wesley rehearsed the JB’s at our hotel 6+ hours everyday. So pretty much all day, you could hear the funky JB’s from the conference room and the Fanias out by the pool boogalooing non-stop. We had an open bar and free food 24/7. Hugh Masakela delivered a garbage bag full of African ganja for us to smoke. Local gyroscopic wiggling sepia coke bottle beauties of pleasure were also delivered daily and danced with us all. Talk about Black Power! Clothing was deemed optional, hedonism ruled, Caligula was an amateur. This was all under the constant and omnipresent vision of the numerous smiling, framed and daily shined portraits of our ‘benevolent’ dictator and lovable leader Mubutu. Life was grand!

At night by the pool, we had a spectacular view which overlooked a valley, a river and a hill on the other side. Our laughing, singing, dancing, jamming, splashing, eating & drinking was interrupted the first night by sudden rocket fire and screaming tracers across the river. Everything stopped still, like an EF Hutton commercial. No one ever explained it and all innocent inquiries were verbotten. Our fifty or so AK-47 toting fatigue & helmet wearing ‘security men’ told us not to worry, all was ok. We were safe and to please continue to enjoy ourselves and our gracious gyrating friends. We heeded their smiling advice. By the second or third night we all took it in non-stop stride, as we boogaloo’d to the display of colorful sonic explosions half a dozen or so kilometers away. It became a nightly ritual we looked forward to!

BB brought yours truly on piano, Sonny Freeman [drums] and Bobby Forte [tenor sax] from the regular working band as well as LeRoy Myers [road mgr], Hampton Reese [arranger/conductor], and Sidney Seidenberg [manager] on this trip. We were augmented by a collection of the top and fabulously famous star studio musicians from New York. Wilton Felder and Larry Carlton of the Jazz Crusaders from LA also joined us that night on bass & rhythm guitar. The always witty, super intellectual, perfunctory, totally hip and sophisticated Hampton Reese rehearsed us and whipped us into spic & span shape in a few hours of rehearsal at the hotel. His charts were great, easy to read and melted like butter n’ onions in a hot cast iron pan, greased.

I can’t remember BB ever having a bad night. I never saw BB fail to steal the show. The heavier the ‘competition’ the deeper he went, every single time. To perform in Africa, the land of his ancestors, at this stadium event before an 80,000 plus crazed, hot, sweaty, dancing and bouncing heads and soulfully pained hearts, must have had a very special personal significance for BB, as it did for us all. We all realized this was not just another gig. It was history, good history. We were all very proud to be a part of it. As far as the set went, we performed BB’s most famous hits. I have to say, this was probably the first time this crowd ever heard or heard of BB King but as usual, he left them wanting more as well as an indelible memory of his sincere personal passion and deep felt blues. He definitely connected with them like the beloved king he is. James Brown however, totally ruled.

After three hot, unbelievably oppressive humid nights of jam packed concerts featuring The Sisters Sledge, Bill Withers, The Crusaders, The Fania All-Stars, James Brown, BB King, The Spinners and others, the heavyweight main event was on tap. There must’ve been over 100,000 sweat soaked souls there at the newly finished soccer stadium that night. 99.9% were for Ali. For awhile, Foreman manhandled Ali severely and punished him unmercifully. People were in tears as Ali was rope-a-doping while being beaten to a pulp-ish purple. I forget which round it was, but like the once fabled phoenix, Ali resurrected himself and the 100,000 plus crowd chanted in unison “Ali, Ali Boom by-yay”. I still don’t know what that means but it sent cold chills & shivers throughout my body [even today] on this steamy 100 degree, one zillion percent humid night in Zaire. Foreman was punched out! He couldn’t even raise his arms in defense as Ali jabbed & blabbed, wobbled & weaved, bounced and trounced, mocked and cajoled at will and picked Foreman apart like a Southern Sabbath Sunday fried chicken and won. It was truly incredible!

During the early & middle 1970’s, BB’s career was handled with total aplomb and genius by Sid Seidenberg, his former accountant. Our schedule consisted of 350 plus dates a year, sometimes 400! We did four gigs in one 24 hour day once, starting in NYC, then Chicago, Milwaukee, and winding up in LA for a next morning 3 AM breakfast show. We played Vegas [when Vegas was, Vegas], colleges, the chitlin’ circuit, hippie houses, bars, prisons, outdoor Jazz & Blues festivals, concert halls [Carnegie, Lincoln, Albert Hall etc], before Royalty and Presidents, primo private parties, parades, TV, radio and most of Ali’s fights. We did them all year long, again and again, over and over, for years after years [7 for me] non-stop, but there was only ONE concert event that will never be duplicated, this one; ‘BB King, Live in Zaire Africa 1974’.


June 2006

Dear Friends and fans,

Hope this finds you all well. I'm sad to say one of my good personal friends and one of the whole music community, Teo Leyasmeyer, recently passed away suddenly. Teo was a very talented pianist, businessman and one of the truly 'good guys' in the music business. Here's a link to his recent obituary from the Boston Herald. He will be sorely missed. He leaves behind many friends, but especially his beautiful wife and two wonderful daughters, ages 14 and 8.

In light of this, I will be donating 100% of ALL future sales monies of RLWK's 'Jazzalicious Grooves' to his family from now on. So please go to CDBaby.com and order copies, for you and your friends. It'll be much appreciated. Thank you.

Now back to New news:

We now have direct links for downloading RLWK tunes to Apple iTunes for most titles on each music page.

Don't worry, we also have 32 other download partners, as well as Ringtones available for your cellphone.

PhonePimp.com Ringtones Wallpapers Mobile Cell Phones

All on the RLWK, www.Levtron.com, website.

Also, we have a new distributor in Japan, in Japanese. Imagine that! So all you fans in Asia can order locally now.


More exciting news! Ron's tune 'Midnight in Memphis' performed by Memphis' own Preston Shannon, the 'Mayor of Beale St' recorded at Papa Willie Mitchell's Royal Studio will be used for the theme song on an upcoming series on the FOX- TV network, entitled 'Southern Comfort' this coming Fall. It's about the 'Dixie Mafia' headed by the wife of a former mob boss. It'll have some really cool characters & backdrops from Juke Joints to plantations etc. Kind of a 'Sopranos' meets the Delta, should be pretty cool. Watch for it!

Much thanks, and have a great & safe summer.




“Ron Levy is one of those artists who once you’ve heard him, you will definitely remember the experience. It is a complete package. A great organ trio sound, great solos and insanely good writing.” - Karl Denson, Blue Note recording artist and saxophonist extraordinaire

Blue Note Records reviews Karl Denson's "Dance Lesson #2" (Levy on organs)

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Reviews and Press

Press Clipping: "Bluesman Levy Reclaims Wild Kingdom"
Press Clipping: "GreaZe is What's Good" Review
Press Clipping: Jazz Times - September 1996 Article
Press Clipping: Blues Access - Spring 1999 Article

Here’s what they’re saying about Ron Levy’s release "GreaZe is Whats Good"

"Ron Levy is the ultimate blues keyboard player." - Craig Harris, The Boston Globe, 9/3/98

"Record producer and ace Hammond B-3 organ player likes to blend jazz, blues, hip-hop and even gospel music in ways that blow apart some of the stylistic boxes that the record industry and radio-programmers have imposed upon music in America." - Ken Franckling, UPI, 4/21/98

"This is one CD you will have to have." - Phil Wight, Blues & Rhythm, April 1998

"Groove-a-thon session that will definitely impress those listeners with open-minded jazz/blues/dance/rock tastes. Levy also sneaks in a groove hip-hop co-op that smokes those Arrested Development fusions, but it’s a novelty compared to the funk metered out on the remainder of the disc. Do yourself a favor already." - Chip Edwards, www.eatmag.com, 5/28/98

"B-3 funkmeister Levy blasts past his previous solo work to make a star-studded, relentlessly funky album that doesn’t let up from beginning to end." "GreaZe is What’s Good" mixes gutbucket r&b with jazz, soul-blues and gospel into one supremely greazy stew." - Kevin R. Convey, Boston Herald, 7/19/98

Here’s what they’re saying about Ron Levy’s release "Zim Zam Zoom"

"Ron Levys’ latest release "Zim Zam Zoom" grasps the very essence of his soulful spirituality." - Holly Harris, Blues on Sunday, WBOS

"B-3 organist Levy and six cohorts, including marvelous guitarist Melvin Sparks and redoubtable drummer Idris Muhammad smoke their "acid-blues" aka "soul-jazz" to perfection. All numbers are equally succulent. 4 stars" - Frank-John Hadley, "One The Blue Side" Downbeat

"You can be sure whether he’s onstage or in the studio, Levy will work on conjuring up something well worth remembering." - Bob Young, Boston Herald, 3/14/95

"You can’t really beat the full throated sound of a Hammond B-3, and Levy takes full advantage of the instrument’s special capabilities.." - Billboard 5/8/93

"Levy plays with unflagging inventiveness, piling on the needling leads and beefy chords that hallmark his style. Throughout, the quality of music is so uniformly excellent and so is the production, making Zim Zam Zoom a high point of Levy’s career." - Tim Schuller, Dallas Observer

"For fans of the B-3, this is a perfect disc for a late night party." Peter R. Aschoff, Living Blues, July/August 1996

"4 1/2 stars" - All Music Guide

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