Well, it just so happened that I had asked my band-mates if they would get together at my house to rehearse for a demo CD. They said yes, and we started to work, but all the edges had not been smoothed out yet. I had no thought of going into a studio, but then a gift certificate came for a session at The Great Divide Studio in Aspen, and things started falling into place. I was starting to see that there was something intervening in all of this, and it wanted me to record.
We started at two in the afternoon, and finished at ten. It was just a gas, swinging, creative, and just beautiful music. It was magical. Jamie Rosenberg made it a very enjoyable experience.
Justin has a lush sound; he’s got elegance. Ashton is a 23-year-old Berklee graduate. He’s got a beautiful tone, a graceful concept of time. He cuts through it without dominating. Tim is world class, man. He’s the real thing—the real deal. When I started back, I was out of touch musically—I couldn’t play. Tim was the only guy in town that had faith that I could do it.Justin and Ashton studied under him. Tim is the teacher of us all.
The name of my group, “The Intervention Band,” was picked because the Good Lord has been intervening in my life since I was born. This is about a relationship, not religion. HE has been there pulling me out of scrapes since the beginning. Also, this is dedicated to my father, Stan Levey, Bebop pioneer, “The Original Original,” without whom none of this would have happened. He was an incredible person, not your everyday kind of father. He influenced me in so many ways. I have a touch of his innate concept of music.
The album name Homey refers to coming home. We have to go back to our roots. We’re all going home, whether we find it on this earth or not. We’re all going back to somewhere.
I believe Dad would be pleased with this music.
I have other recordings out there, most notably Cypress Hill’s “When the Shit Goes Down” and De La Soul’s “Intro” on the hit CD Buhlōōne Mind State.
—Bob Levey, 2009
Bob Levey is the son of Stan Levey the Bop drummer who pioneered the original Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie groups in the mid 40’s and then went on to play with every major star in the music business from that period. Bob has played in many clubs in the L.A. area: The It Club, Marty’s on the Hill, The Rainbow Bar and Grill, Gazzari’s, Pandora’s Box, The Troubador, etc. He recorded for the dance show Boss City in the 60’s with Jeannie Brown. He gave up playing music professionally to raise his family for many years.
Comments from friends:
Tim Fox (trumpet player for The Intervention Band): We’re very democratic. Someone will have an idea, and the rest of us will say, yeah, let’s go for it. Bob’s a strong supporter. First of all, he’s a brother. He’s not flashy, but he listens hard, like his dad. Bob has that drive—that aspiration—to do something valuable. These young guys, Justin and Ashton, are solid. You definitely can hear the classical influence in Justin’s playing, and Ashton’s sound comes out really clear. Clarity is his strength. I, too, bow to my dad as my major influence. Our family sang every night—barbershop quartet. Dad played Count Basie stuff on the piano. The singing tradition of my family afforded me the path to improvising.
We were given a gift of recording time at the studio. There’s something pretty risky about recording it all on one day. You’re going to have to get in the groove—find that zone and tap in. I’m with Bob there. When those doors open, I try to acknowledge The ALMIGHTY
Bring it on home.
Paul Barrare (vocalist/guitarist for Little Feat and my longest friend—all the way back to grammar school): Cool stuff. Really cool old-school jazz, my friend. Play on, brother.
Scott Harper (DJ at KJAX and Jazz Aspen board member): Just had a chance to listen to the tunes you sent me. All I can say is Wow! You know it will get air time up here!
Matt Criscuolo (alto sax player) Jazz Times, 5 stars: Nice feel on drums, Bob, as usual. Love the arrangement and the bass/drum line together. Trumpet player is “baad.” I love this tune (“You Go to My Head”) Sounds great Bob. Swingin!!!
Artt Frank(arttfrank.com, longtime drummer with Chet Baker): Having played with every major Bop player from Charlie Parker to Chet Baker and many others in between, affords me the credibility to know what I'm talking about, especially when it comes to jazz musicians and their musicianship.
Well, I have to say that I was truly impressed when I listened to Bob Levey's first CD release as a leader, and equally impressed with the swinging group of musicians he chose to accompany him on the project.
JUSTIN PFEIFER, on piano, not only knows how to swing, he also proves adept in knowing just the right voicings to lay down for trumpeter/pianist extraordinaire, TIM FOX, who in turn, demonstrates his innate ability to phrase like the giants of old. But then, how could he miss when he had the likes of BOB LEVEY, the son of Bop drumming legend, STAN LEVEY, holding down the time and adding the shading behind him, along with the big sound of ASHTON TAUFER's rhythmic string-pulling, adding depth and dimension. All in all, this is one swingin' group of cats.
God Bless, Artt
A few others to thank
Louis Hayes, the drive and sound and inspiration (Mr. Cymbal Beat)
Artt Frank, inspiration to play on
Stanley Badgett, liner notes
Jamie Rosenberg, great vibes from “The Great Divide”
All my family, including Asaf Fuentes, support
*Pete Platek, without whose life this cd could not have been realized
* Photos: “Roads,” Bob Levey; “Band members,” Jamie Rosenberg