Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Ron Levy -- composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist -- began his career at age 18 touring with blues legend Albert King. He soon went on to tour for seven years with the “King of the Blues” Mr. B. B. King, recording 12 albums including the classic Grammy Award-winning “Live at Cook County Jail.” Levy also appeared in the Oscar-winning film “When We Were Kings” and the subsequent HBO special, “B.B. King, Live in Africa” as well as 'The Ed Sullivan Show", Mike Douglas, Merv Griffin, Johnny Carson, Hugh Hefner's Playboy Mansion, Don Cornelius' Soul Train, Sanford & Son, etc, etc shows of the 70's. Nostalgia sure ain't what it used to be!
During the 1980s Ron toured and recorded with Luther “Guitar Jr.” Johnson and Roomful of Blues. He was also the pianist/organist, arranger and associate producer for Hammond Scott's fabled Black Top Records of New Orleans. Ron appeared on numerous critically praised blues recordings of that period, including those of his own Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom band, featuring members of Roomful of Blues, The Neville Brothers and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Several of their efforts with Earl King were nominated for Grammy awards.
Learning his studio lessons well, Levy as producer and A&R man, then co-founded Rounder's Bullseye Blues label, garnering 9 Grammy nominations, several WC Handy “Album of the Year” awards and Living Blues Magazine's 1994 “Producer of the Year” award. With Bullseye, Levy collaborated with multi-genre artists such as Charles Brown, Bonnie Raitt, Lowell Fulson, Champion Jack Dupree, Willie Mitchell, Otis Clay, Ann Peebles, ReBirth Brass Band, George Porter, The Persuasions, The Wild Magnolias w/ Dr. John & Willie Tee, Larry Davis, Jimmy McCracklin, Smokin' Joe Kubek and many others.
He later co-founded the short-lived but critically acclaimed Cannonball Blues & Jazz label, producing/recording Charles Earland, Dr. Lonnie Smith, Melvin Sparks, Idris Muhammad w/ Joe Lovano, George Coleman & Gary Bartz, Pucho and his Latin Soul Brothers, Reuben Wilson, Johnny Bassett, Alberta Adams and others. On these labels, Ron Levy’s Wild Kingdom’s seminal explosive grooves can be heard on three highly acclaimed CDs, including ‘Zim Zam Zoom’ (**** Downbeat), ‘B-3 Blues & Grooves’ ( **** ½ All Music Guide) and ‘GreaZe is What’s Good’ (**** Jazziz).
Levy resumed his cross-country touring and performing in 2000, with Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom, recording a 'live' CD on his newly formed Levtron.com label with his high-energy organ trio in Boulder, CO. He also wrote and recorded several original songs on Karl Denson's “Dance Lesson #2” on Blue Note records, along with Chris Wood of MMW, DJ Logic, Charlie Hunter, Melvin Sparks, Zak Najor and Leon Spencer Jr. Levy's original “Like, Like Dope” reached #1 on the CMJ report. Levy also toured in Brazil with his Brazilian Wild Kingdom and produced Fernando Noronha & Black Soul's “Blues from Hell,” album which won the 2002 Brazilian Grammy award in the Blues-Rock category.
More recently, Ron Levy’s Wild Kingdom Levtron.com CD “Finding My Way” was cited as the "#1 Soul-Jazz CD of 2003.” It, along with its newly released follow-up “After Midnight Grooves” [summer 2004], features all-new Levy compositions performed by long-time musical associates and friends Karl Denson, Melvin Sparks and Russ Lawton. P-Vine records of Japan has currently released “Organ Colossus, The Very Best of Ron Levy's Wild Kingdom” anthology of the last three RLWK Levtron.com albums.
Levy's focus on composing/publishing/licensing has currently earned him numerous BMI performance credits on HBO's “Sex And The City” and “The Wire,” CBS's “JAG” and “NFL Today,” ABC's “World News This Morning,” “Nothing Sacred” and “Good Morning America,” Fox's “NFL on Fox” and “NFL Sunday,” along with the films, “Cop Land,” “Keys To Tulsa,” “Six Ways To Sunday,” “Johnny Skidmarks” and “Meeting Daddy.”
A Boston native, Levy resides on Boston's North Shore and is currently wrapping up his latest RLWK recording project “VooDoo Boogaloo” [w/Karl Denson, Melvin Sparks, Russ Lawton, Jerry Portnoy and “Sax” Gordon] set for Fall-Winter 2004 release. A 12-song anthology entitled “Best of RLWK - B-3 Organic Grooves” is also due for release in September of 2004.