epk:  home/contact  press release  bio  liner notes  photos  audio  reviews  itinerary  backline/stage setup


quotes from reviews

(when you don't want to read the long versions)



Jazz Times
March 2011
by Bill DeMain

Whether it's Jimmy Smith, Richard "Groove" Holmes, or Pete Levin, those syncopated stabs and walking basslines on the Hammond B3 relax the mind and stoke the imagination.

As the fleet-fingered Levin saunters and swings through the mentholated grooves of "Exclamation!," "That Was Then" and "The Big Dog Is Always Right," the listener is suddenly in some smoke-filled corner bar, circa 1960

Levin's work with a wide array of artists across the spectrum, from Miles Davis and Wayne Shorter to Paul Simon and Annie Lennox, influences his own compositions, which are both harmonically interesting and immediate.  And his choice of covers reflects a playful sensibility.

Bandmates drummer Lenny White and guitarist Dave Stryker get plenty of room to stretch out - Stryker's solo on "That Was Then" is especially lovely - but mostly this is Levin administering one long, invigorating shot of B3 cool.

top of the page

The Rosendale Cafe

Rosendale, NY
March 26, 2011

Live review, by Rudy Lu

This was second of the 2 gigs in the US that this trio is playing this year to support the new CD Jump (Pete Levin Music). Pete decided to keep the US leg of the tour close to his home in Woodstock by opening at the Falcon in Marlboro.  The all star billing of this band certainly lived up to the reputations of its individual players.

Pete has an impressive resume as a band member as well as leader. He has played with Paul Simon, Annie Lennox, Miles Davis, David Sanborn, Lenny White, Wayne Shorter, Jaco Pastorius, Robbie Robertson and John Scofield.

Dave Stryker has been a sideman for Brother Jack McDuff and Stanley Turrentine as well as a band leader in his own right. He displayed an amazing range of tones and range ranging from the Wes Montgomery sound, to funk and out right rocking out.

Lenny White needs no introduction. A house drummer for the CTI label, drummer for Miles Davis’ “Bitches Brew” Band and with Return to Forever, he played with incredible fluidity and left no doubt why he has been noted as one of the most influential drummers in jazz.

The standing room only crowd of avid jazz aficionados was treated to an evening of fun of covers and originals. Funky danceable originals such as “Jump” and “ The Big Dog Is Always Right “ were mixed in with covers of Freddie Hubbard’s ”Little Sunflower” and Charles Mingus’ “Nostalgia in Times Square”. The one cover that I never dreamed I would hear a jazz organ play was the Paul Winter Consort/Oregon new agey classic “Icarus”.

I felt privileged to be one of the few to witness this combo live stateside.

top of the page

Pete Levin
CD review by Roger-Z

Pete Levin funked up. That's right. He took your father's organ trio and funked it up on his new CD, "Jump!"

Levin initially gained fame playing synthesizer with artists such as Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Annie Lenox, Gill Evans, Miles Davis,and John Scofield. In 2007, he became enchanted with the organ trio and since then has released a number of "back to the roots" albums including "Deacon Blues" and "Certified Organic." "Jump!" continues that tradition with a new set of players.  The tunes follow a simple format. Pete Levin (who composed half of the record) lays out the head and then they're off to the races!

Guitarist Dave Stryker presents an interesting dichotomy. He plays with a "Strat" feel but a "Jumbo" jazz tone. His style includes many elements in common with, believe it or not, heavy metal. They both utilize ferociously fast and hypnotically intricate lines. Lenny White (of "Return to Forever" fame) propels the tunes with a delicate but urgent proficiency. He specializes in prodding the soloist without intruding. White plays ingriguingly behind the beat.

If you enjoy a lively melody, a crisp rhythm, and lots of improvisation, you will love this record.

top of the page

Pete Levin - Jump!
(Pete Levin Music)
Review by Glenn Daniels

We've probably said it before, but there's nothing like listening to a master of his craft, and organist Pete Levin certainly fits that description.  Jump! is the bodacious, bluesy, groovin', funky work of his mastery.

Helping Levin brew up the groove is an A-list lineup of musicians.  With such fantastic talents and corresponding performances, Jump! is truly a mover and a shaker.

top of the page

Hit List
Vintage Guitar Magazine
Pete Levin
May 2011

The past few Pete Levin albums have featured his fine organ playing, great songs, and lots of room for whatever guitarist was working with him.  Jump! is no different, with Dave Stryker on guitar.  Put the two with drummer Lenny White and you've got the mix for a highly entertaining recording.  Whether it's a funky blues with rock touches, like the title track, or a swinger like "Exclamation!," Stryker proves a versatile player brimming with soul.  Levin's compositions, as always, are tight and memorable, and his choice of covers is very cool, including an unexpected take on "Talk to the Animals."  Jump! is a treat for jazz and guitar fans alike.  - JH

top of the page

Daily Freeman
Kingston, NY
Friday, October 15, 2010

SOUND ADVICE: Pete Levin has outdone himself with ‘Jump!’
Review by David Malachowski

ARTIST: Pete Levin
ALBUM: “Jump!” (Pete Levin Music)

Keyboard wizard Pete Levin has put out a series of Hammond B-3 organ CDs of late, and though this – the third - is in theory cut from the same cloth, the reality is, it couldn’t be more different.

Levin always surrounds himself with the best musicians in the world, as he is one himself. But in this outing, the addition of drum legend Lenny White and master guitarist Dave Stryker raises the bar considerably. White's inventiveness and jaw-dropping technique threatens to pull focus from Levin, but it doesn’t.

Levin’s own compositions – from the funked up “Jump!” the deep groove fest of “The Big Dog Is Always Right”, lush and luxurious “Exclamation,” to the dark and foreboding “And “That Was Then” – stand up strongly next to jazz classics like Freddie Hubbard’s “Little Sunflower” and Charlie Mingus’ “Nostalgia In Times Square.” But as always, it’s Levin’s touch, groove, phrasing and all around depth as a musician that makes this such a joy to listen to.

top of the page

Game Vortex Magazine
Pete Levin: Jump!
Review by Fridtjof, GameVortex Communications AKA Matt Paddock
Publisher: PeteLevin.com

Pete Levin is the kind of jazz player that defines the state of the music, in several ways. On the plus side, he's a talented guy playing an instrument that has a long tradition going all the way back to the sacred roots of what is most definitely a secular art form. Players like Fats Waller, Jimmy Smith, and Lonnie Smith are the pillars on which any modern jazz player who wants to be faithful to his roots will stand. Levin nods to all the organ tradition while reserving space for what he calls "an occasional textural piece." His funk, blues, and modal styles are balanced across about half an album's worth of originals and a remainder of repertoire.

The title track, Jump!, gets impeccable backing from Lenny White and Dave Stryker allow Levin to rest his foot and his left hand, and stretch out with some great solos. You can hear a steady diet of bop flowing through Levin's right hand, but his comping and left-hand technique is equally strong. The energy in this trio is infectious. It's a fun, driving effort from these three, plus a bonus track that features Levin playing with Joe Beck and Danny Gottlieb.

There's nothing on Jump! that stretches musical boundaries, but it's music any jazz fan will respect immediately. Put simply, you can hear the tradition in every note this guy plays. Funk fans, the MMW flock, and jazz lovers will each find a favorite tune on Pete Levin: Jump!. Jazz music may not be making the cover of Rolling Stone in this day and age, but you'd never know that, listening to the passion and energy displayed by Pete Levin. Unpretentious, exhilarating, and wonderful.

top of the page

Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
Pete Levin
by Mark S. Tucker

Available from CD Baby.

It's been a while since we heard from Pete Levin—too long, in fact—so the release of Jump! puts us back into that slinky, funky, moody, midnight organ sound once again, this time with a number of estimables: Lenny White, Manolo Badrena, the late Joe Beck, Danny Gottlieb (the latter two going mysteriously uncredited on the front cover, perhaps because they appear on only one cut rescued from earlier sessions) and the nimble Dave Stryker taking up guitar duties otherwise.

As per usual, Levin composes about half the songs and then trots out gems by Freddie Hubbard, Charlie Mingus, Leslie Bricusse, and so on. The opener, Jump!, is a bracing tune, but I more dug its follow-on, Exclamation!, sounding like an amalgam of Brian Auger and Jimmy McGriff, mellow but energetic, a straight-line narrative laying out its own borders and corners. The funk factor spikes up in The Big Dog is always Right, a bouncy cut with descending chords taking it into melancholy while remaining effervescent. Stryker becomes Martino-esque here, bopping out a great long lead. And don't miss Levin's unusual damped power chords while White solos.

Ya can't help but drift back to the old Blue Note days in listening to this kind of music-making. Pete Levin's a plugger and refuses to opt out to modernity for its own sake, sinking into updated tradition like hand in glove. His take on Hubbard's Little Sunflower is gorgeous, something Freddie woulda dug the hell out of and a lesson Lonnie Liston Smith might want to think about digging into as well.

top of the page

The Jazz Writer
Pete Levin: "Jump!"
by Woodrow Wilkins
October 2010

For Jump!, Levin plays the Hammond B-3 organ. His core trio consists of guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Lenny White. Percussionist Manolo Badrena appears on a few tracks. The title song sets a festive atmosphere. Though Levin leads, it’s White’s drum play that carries this piece.

With Jump!, Levin sheds the traditional organ trio approach for something with more groove. With the organ’s bass mixed up front, the music has the sound of a quartet, making each song richer than if it were simply organ, drums, guitar.

top of the page

Record Label and Music Spotlight
News & Notes
Pete Levin: Jump!
October 2010

On of the hippest jazz B-3 organ players on the current jazz scene, New York’s own Pete Levin can always be counted to lead up solid jazz ensembles and for his 2010 album Jump! he gets it right. Guitar fans will note the ten track instrumental jazz set features Dave Stryker while jazz-rock fans will note on the traps, none other than Return To Forever timekeeper Lenny White on drums. There’s an uncanny air of musical ESP these players share. The studio sound is first rate. Levin keeps it uptown and the groove just flows track to track.

top of the page

Jazz Notes Blogspot
CDs of Note - Short Takes
Review by Ken Franckling
November 2, 2010

Pete Levin, Jump! (self-produced)

Clean and precise B-3 organ work can swing mightily in the right hands – and with the right band to inspire it. No chicken shack required. Pete Levin proves it on this fine self-produced session that teams him with the searing artistry of guitarist Dave Stryker and drummer Lenny White. This is a welcome addition to the B-3 discography. It bubbles to the top among contemporary projects.

top of the page

JUMP! – Pete Levin Music
Review by Bob Gish
November 2010

Funky! Cool to the max! Pete Levin and company have a winner here! So, jump with joy at the release of JUMP!, a great constellation of songs and musicians who not only know their business but feel it too.

Pete toasts and treats the listener and his cohorts to a rompin’ good time across the keys and pedals of his velvety-sounding organ. Altitude is always a factor in jumps, whether high or broad, and what’s heard on this CD is nothing less than high, far, and wide. Lenny White, Manolo Badrena and Danny Gottlieb (on “Honeysuckle Rose”) provide the snuggly, embracing blanket of drums and percussion. Levin and Stryker are through and through much in the tradition of Burrell and Montgomery when it comes to blending guitar and organ and the illustrious panoply of great jazz organists then and now from Jimmy Smith to Joey DeFrancesco.

Just about any track becomes a favorite and listeners will jump back to hear again what they’ve marveled at hearing. Be it deliberate or random, jumping through with these tunes is pure delight.

top of the page

Pete Levin - JUMP! (2010)
by Pico
November, 2010

Levin is back again with his third record, riding that same organ groove as the B-3 righteousness of Certified Organic. Instead of using a revolving cast of session characters, Levin stuck with the same guys throughout, former Weather Report percussionist Manolo Badrena, Return To Forever drummer Lenny White and one of the finest soul-jazz guitarists working today, Dave Stryker.

Levin developed a program of originals with some covers that alternately shows off both his compositional and interpretive skills. And once again, Levin updates the greasy goodness of Jimmy Smith and Richard "Groove" Holmes while maintaining an edge that steers it clear of smooth jazz. He is acutely aware of the talent he's surrounded himself with, letting these cats play up to their immense abilities, but also knows when to use the B-3 to take over the proceedings and when to lay back and supply a soul soothing backdrop.

Most of Levin's five originals are loaded up in the front end, starting with a couple of burners in "Jump!" and "Exclamation!" before dialing it down to a cool blue flame for "That Was Then." That second track has a particularly in-the-pocket solo by the leader, but it's Stryker who sends these songs over the top.

Of the covers, the Freddie Hubbard standard "Little Sunflower" works the best. Slowed down to a spacious, epochal tone poem, Levin's bass pedal work here is central, a counter rhythm working in tandem with White's nuanced drum work and Badrena's precise percussion.

Pete Levin continues on an B-3 roll with Jump!, and once again makes a very solid groove record. Jump! is how 21st century soul-jazz is done right.

top of the page

Pete Levin: Jump
Pete Levin Music
By Ric Bang
December 3, 2010

Keyboardist, composer and arranger Pete Levin has been around for decades. As an instrumentalist, he’s best known for his work with the organ. Jump! features his expanded organ trio with guitarist Dave Stryker, percussionist Manolo Badrena, and drummer Lenny White.

Not too many really swinging organists perform today, although past years saw quite a few. Levin is as good as they get but the accompanying rhythm section also is a key factor. Levin’s drummers and guitarists are always exceptional.

top of the page



   epk:  home/contact  press release  bio  liner notes  photos  audio  reviews  itinerary  backline/stage setup



Hit Counter