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Trumpet prof releases CD
By CARL POLLEY
Lawrence professor of music Robert Levy, who has taught trumpet and conducted Lawrences Wind Ensemble since 1979, will soon release a new CD, "Crossover," on the Stellar Sound Productions label.
"Crossover," Levys third recording as leader/soloist, prominently features many other artists. Lawrence Conservatory faculty members on the CD include Ken Schaphorst, pianist and arranger; John Harmon, pianist; Dane Richeson, drums; and the "Extempo" ensemble (with Nick Keelan, trombone; Woody Mankowski, saxophone; Mike Hale, trumpet; and David Stallsmith, bass, along with Schaphorst and Richeson). Lawrence alum Jason Roebke 91 has a featured composition on the CD, and Matt Turner, Lawrence alum and former Lawrence teacher, performs on the cello.
Also featured on the recording are two nationally known guest artists: Walt Weiskopf, saxophonist, and Steve Grismore, guitarist. Both have recorded and toured extensively and each has released recordings as a leader. Local artists Janet Planet, vocalist, and Tom Washatka, saxophonist, perform on "Crossover." Lawrence percussionists Ryan Korb and Jamie Ryan also perform on the album.
"Many of the musical inklings for this project emerged from my spring 1997 stay at a wonderful artist colonythe Virginia Center for the Creative Arts," wrote Levy about his new recording. During his visit to the artist colony, which he did during his sabbatical last year, he conceived the format for his new CD and wrote six of the compositions.
"My own musical life and experience continue to cross over many of the diverse sound worlds in which we live and which continually fascinate me," Levy explained of the choice of the new albums title. And cross over Levy has, performing brass chamber music, conducting wind ensembles and bands, and performing with jazz groups of all types. Levys commitment to new music can be seen in his having premiered or recorded more than 100 new works by American composers. Many were written specifically for him.
"Unobtrusively, Bob guides us and allows us an opportunity to cross over into his musical world," wrote Tom Everett, Director of Bands at Harvard University and founder of the schools jazz program. "Listen, as he mixes and contrasts six original pieces, three ballads, hard bop, funk, chamber music, and free jazz."
"If variety is the spice of life (and music), Bob leads one jalapeņo of a life."
In the notes for "Crossover," Everett well described the nature of Levys latest release: "When asked for one word that best describes Bob Levy, one is virtually forced to answer: catalyst. For a catalyst is surely what Bob is: he supports the artists that he believes in; he commissions works from the talented artists he feels need exposure; and, most significantly, he brings together performers, composers, and listeners. If you do not yet reside in the land of Bob Levy fans, listen to the album, and you may just cross over."
"Crossover" was made possible in part through a Lawrence University research grant.
Levys previous CD, "Blackberry Winter," on the Mark Records label, features the music of Alec Wilder and is available locally at Heid Music, Conkeys, and the Conservatory of Music Office.