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Stan Levey: Stan Levey: The Original Original

If drummer Stan Levey hadn’t missed the sessions that produced the revolutionary Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie sides of early 1945, would he be better known today? The Original Original weaves together interviews with its subject, as well as Quincy Jones, Lalo Schifrin, Terry Gibbs and fellow percussionists Charlie Watts and Jim Keltner to trace Levey’s diverse and momentous career.

Starting off as a boxer and ending as a photographer, Levey was a key member of Parker and Gillespie’s first bebop band, later accompanying them on the ill-fated California engagement. His work with Dexter Gordon, Stan Getz, the Lighthouse All-stars, Stan Kenton and Peggy Lee, among many others, led to a long tenure in the Hollywood studios. This first-rate, historically significant musician–who died in April 2005–has long deserved his day in the sun, and with this engaging documentary he gets it.

Originally Published