Episode 146: Adam Levy
Air date: 10.21.2015
Few musicians get to experience the kind of career ride Adam Levy has had. It all started simply enough; Levy was a young, talented jazz guitarist who grew up in Los Angeles and had lived on both coasts - playing with numerous artists and earning some accolades for his smoky blues licks on Tracy Chapman’s hit, “Give Me One Reason.” After a few more moves Levy found himself in San Francisco writing for Guitar Player magazine. Not a bad regular gig in a field where regular gigs come dear. A strange confluence of events then set him on a path that would sound like a yarn had it not come to pass. It was sparked by an e-mail from a little-known performer he’d played with in New York, along with a rare and uncannily good deal on an apartment in Manhattan and a cross-country tag along ride. That e-mail was from Norah Jones, with whom Levy had been playing gigs before he left for the West coast. She was headed into the studio to record her debut album for the Blue Note label and she asked him to come to New York and play some guitar. When it was released, Come Away With Me captured the zeitgeist of America in the aftermath of the September 11th terror attacks, sold millions of copies and won Jones eight Grammys in 2003 - and it also launched Jones, Levy and the other musicians in her band into the rarified air unique to multi-platinum artists. Levy played with Jones’ Handsome Band for six years and two more albums before setting off on his own. Levy has kept busy since, relocating back to his native California, releasing several albums and chairing the guitar department at Los Angeles College of Music. Levy’s deft, tasteful, slowhand guitar style has also been heard on recordings by Ani DiFranco, Amos Lee and numerous others, and his newest project is a quartet of top-notch musicians including Rich Hinman, Jay Bellarose and Jennifer Condos that can be found playing entertaining and unpretentious gigs around Los Angeles.