Tonight & Tomorrow
Howard Levy - piano, harmonica; Larry Gray - double bass; Ernie Adams - drums. Recorded 6/1 and 6/2/2009. Produced by Nick Eipers and Howard Levy. Engineered by Nick Eipers. REVIEWS: One of Downbeat Magazine's 'Best CDs of 2010' 4 Stars! ("Excellent") - Downbeat Magazine Howard won the Jazz Times Magazine 2010 Readers Poll 'Miscellaneous Instrument' (tied with Bela Fleck and Toots Thielemans) "...producer/engineer Nick Eipers knew early on he wanted to feature the spontaneous genius of Levy. 'Tonight and Tomorrow' weighs in with a stellar trio of drummer Ernie Adams and bassist Larry Gray... [The title track] features a typically forthright bass solo from Gray leading into vamp sequences laced with Latin structures, ethnic scales and hints of Levy's enthusiasm for McCoy Tyner, which is further suggested by the intense noteplay and chordal architecture on the opening blues. 'Song For Susan' is a dancing waltz with undulating harmony; 'Aha' an Afro-Cuban romp kicked along nicely by Adams; 'Slanted Samba' an offhanded title for a penetrating multi-hued foray. Given the intricacy of some of the forms, which vary from playful to serious, two improvisations, 'Flunky Jazz' and 'Triosity' demonstrate the trio's tinder-like interpersonal response and offer respite from prescribed ideas." - Michael Jackson, Downbeat Magazine "Howard Levy has almost single-handedly developed the full jazz potential of the diatonic harmonica... a marvelous piano-trio album featuring Levy's harmonica... Although he cites McCoy Tyner and Herbie Hancock as influences, Levy the pianist has a sunnier, more ebullient style than either, enlivened by an unfailing upward momentum... The trio interplay is first-rate throughout, as are the arrangements." - George Kanzler, Jazz Times Magazine "If he were only an amazing pianist, he would be in demand constantly; if he were only a trailblazing harmonica player, he would likely be in demand nearly as much. But Howard Levy is both... The tune to check out is "Sandi", on which Levy does the seemingly impossible - he plays harmonica and piano simultaneously... His solo, as he basically trades with himself back and forth between the harmonica and piano is filled with some really heady stuff. 'Tonight and Tomorrow' is yet another knockout release from Howard Levy, and from Chicago Sessions as well." - Paul Abella, Chicago Jazz Magazine "His McCoy Tyner-like piano work on the compelling 'Howard's F# Blues' that opens the album announces that he is a force to be reckoned with on the keys. Of course, the harp work is stellar - breathtaking at times (listen to him bend the note upward like he is bending a guitar string on his solo on 'Chorinho')... Gray is one of the most melodic and tasteful bass players in the business, while Adams may be the busiest and most in-demand drummer in town, and the recording lovingly captures every nuance clearly. Levy himself is playing better than ever, and on 'Tonight and Tomorrow', Levy and co-producer Nick Eipers have recorded one of Chicago's most important jazz artists in the prime of his career." - Brad Walseth, JazzChicago.net "With such a diverse and extensive history, it would be almost impossible for Levy to sum his career up on one disc, but 'Tonight and Tomorrow' comes as close as possible to doing just that... Levy's harmonica playing is startlingly fluid and full of the technical prowess that would be expected from the genre's top saxophonists, not from an instrument that is often associated with campfire cowboys and Mississippi bluesmen... Gray also contributes several memorable solos, including standout improvisations on 'Song for Susan' and 'Slanted Samba'... Adams knows exactly when to lay back and let the soloist explore the groove and when to jump in and engage the lead player head on. It is this level of interaction between the rhythm section and soloist that provide some of the albums most poignant moments... These three musicians have come together to prove, once again, that it's not necessary to only look to New York for the best in American jazz." - Matthew Warnock, AllAboutJazz.com "With the excellent support of Gray and Adams, Levy moves through his own compositions - evoking the musical range from Sixties Hancock and Brazilian song forms to free jazz - all with energy and conviction. Nicely recorded, as is the label's habit, as well..." - Michael Steinman, Cadence Magazine "The band has a great texture with all four instruments together, and Levy has a comfortable and warm touch on the piano on tunes like 'Song For Susan'. Definitely a bit of something different that works well." - George W. Harris, JazzWeekly.com "Larry Gray and Ernie Adams are ideal allies to complement Levy's boundless range. As a pianist, his relationship with the instrument is so intimate and playful... Musically, it's a feast. The Latin influences are there in the lovely 'Slanted Samba', 'Chorinho', and 'Aha'; the blues are given an elegant nod in the upbeat 'Howard's F# Blues'; and the power of improvisation flows throughout 'Triosity'." - Layla Macoran, JazzInsideNY Magazine "When you combine this iconoclastic skill with his energetic yet lyrical approach to improvising, you get a style that has beguiled artists from across the musical spectrum - from newgrass banjoist Béla Fleck to post-bopper Ben Sidran, folkies Steve Goodman and Bonnie Koloc to the Lebanese oud player Rabih Abou-Khalil, Cuban saxist Paquito D'Rivera to "word jazz" creator Ken Nordine, all of whom have featured Levy's harmonica on their recordings. His harp playing can easily detract from Levy's piano praxis, which he displays on many of the more than 200 recordings he's made. The piano remains his first instrument, and he always greets it like an old friend, embracing it in his lanky limbs and long thin fingers, before putting it through it's paces. Levy has technique for miles, matched by a sterling musicianship that let's him blister the ears with rapid-fire runs or soothe the senses with lullaby harmonies. And his piano work, like his repertoire, reflects his unique and wide-ranging set of influences, comprising balkan folk tunes, bluegrass, several Brazilian idioms, klezmer, mainstream jazz, various middle-eastern traditions, and rock through the ages." - Neil Tesser (from the liner notes) BIO: Howard Levy is a musician without limits. His musical adventures include journeys into jazz, pop, rock, world music, Latin, classical, folk, blues, country, theater and film. He has appeared on hundreds of CD's, won a Grammy and a Joseph Jefferson Award, and performed many times on American and European television. Acknowledged to be the world's most advanced diatonic harmonica player, Howard has revolutionized the playing of his instrument and taken it into totally new territory. He is also an accomplished composer and pianist, and plays many other instruments including flute, ocarina, mandolin, saxophone and percussion. Throughout his career, Howard has performed and recorded with scores of famous artists including Paul Simon, Kenny Loggins, Donald Fagen/Steely Dan, Dolly Parton, Styx, Paquito D'Rivera, Kurt Elling, Ken Nordine, John Prine, Rabih Abou-Khalil and many others. He was a founding member of the trailblazing group Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, with whom he won a Grammy in 1997 . Howard has made many appearances on Garrison Keillor's "A Prairie Home Companion", is music director of Chévere, Chicago's hottest Latin-Jazz-Fusion Band, and tours and records with Trio Globo. He has given over 20 performances of his Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra. Howard studied classical music at The Manhattan School of Music, pipe organ with Carl Lambert, and Jazz at Northwestern University. As a music educator, he has taught hundreds of students privately and guest lectured at Harvard, Berklee, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, and many others. Born in New York City, Howard Levy is a long-time resident of Evanston, IL.