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New Biography of Morris Levy

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  • New Biography of Morris Levy

    I certainly heard my share of Morris Levy stories back in the day as a young lawyer, but never appreciated that he had a long history in the jazz era before he become known as a music business "tough guy" with reputed mob ties. There were snippets in other books about Levy, but finally, we have a real biography, and it's a good one, from the early days, as the founder of Birdland, to the rock and roll "shows" (Alan Freed anyone?) to the establishment of Roulette, and beyond. Morris was a somewhat ruthless, clever guy who was known more for his ability to see the angles than for artist development or genre-breaking trends. But, the story is fascinating- and covers the sweep of the industry from its immediate post-WWII underpinnings to the boom years in the '70s. Here's the review; there is also a companion piece interviewing Richard Carlin, the author.
            This book—an in-depth biography of Morris Levy, a legendary music business figure with reputed “mob ties” —is long overdue. We seem to have a collective fascination for scoundrels, thugs and gangsters. But Levy was no mere thug: from his Birdland, a midtown jazz club where Charlie Parker, Coltrane, Monk, Miles, Bud […]

  • #2
    Thanks. Ordered.

    Pick up Tommy James' autobiography. Mo Levy figures prominently. I have one friend who used to work for him and another that used to do business with him.

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    • #3
      Yep, the Tommy James thing is kind of funny when he talks about the morning after they made the rounds to the various labels and he's basically told, "you're signed to Roulette." This is a different kind of book in some ways. I think you'll enjoy it- lot's of history I wasn't aware of....


      • #4
        Nightclubs and record labels were both great vehicles for laundering mob money.
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        Artists are the gatekeepers of truth! - Paul Robeson