Howard Levy is one of the most outstanding harmonica players of his generation. In addition to his absolute mastery of the instrument, Levy is credited with the development of new techniques that dramatically expanded the musical possibilities of the diatonic harmonica, the most important of which is the overblow, which allowed the harmonica to produce notes never before available on the instrument. In addition, he is unrivalled for the number of different musical styles in which he can play fluently, which include jazz, classical, rock, folk, Latin, and world music.
Levy was born in New York, New York, in 1951. His professional music career began in Chicago, where he played with Tom Paxton, Steve Goodman, and John Prine, among others.
In 1988 he had occasion to play with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones at a folk festival in Canada, and in 1989 he joined the group, recording and touring with them for four years, a stint that made him widely known as a harmonica genius.
Levy has also played and recorded with a myriad of top artists including Dolly Parton, Jerry Garcia, Paul Simon, Jack Bruce, Laurie Anderson, Paquito D'Rivera, Kenny Loggins, and Art Lande. Levy continues to be a major force in the world of harmonica.
You may have noticed that women seem to be quite underrepresented among the artists discussed in this book, but there are a lot of great female harmonica players around today. Check out Trina Hamlin, Mattie Phifer, LynnAnn Hyde, Lady A, Beth Kohnen, Roxy Perry, Cara Cooke, and Geneva Red for a sampling.