“A legendary figure on Russian and American jazz scene, founder of famous Allegro band and simply outstanding composer and pianist, Nick Levinovsky was introduced to jazz at the age of 13, when he discovered and started listening (surreptitiously via short wave radio) to Willis Conover’s Voice of America jazz broadcasts. From a musical family – both of his parents were opera singers – he was expected to take the classical route to a musical career. But after being exposed to jazz, he was hooked on America’s music, and there was no looking back. As the political climate in the U.S.S.R. began to thaw and jazz began to move out of the underground, Levinovsky moved to Moscow to form his own trio. Ironically, his first paying gig was for the local KGB office. He met and jammed with all the jazz greats passing through Moscow, including Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck, Chick Corea, Milt Hinton, and others. He also played piano on a recording by Ray Coniff, the first American artist to record in the U.S.S.R. In 1978, Levinovsky formed his own group, Allegro, which became considerably the brightest fusion project in USSR and performed at numerous festivals inside and outside of USSR, performing on Russian radio, as well as cutting eight albums. Notwithstanding his big success, Levinovsky decided to move to the U.S. in 1990, where he performed and wrote charts for such groups as the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Forming a big band in 1997, he released his first album, Listen Up, with that group under his own NLO label. Kind of Red, with his sextet, was released in 2000.”
Nick Levinovsky has played with Igor Butman since 1983, when the saxophonist joined Levinovsky’s Allegro. After Levinovsky’s relocation to New York in 1990, he continued to play with Butman in the USA. Igor, in his turn, moved back to Moscow in 1995, but it didn’t prevent the musicians from keeping up their successful collaboration, lasting now for nearly 35 years! Igor Butman’s Moscow Jazz Orchestra recorded two albums with Nick’s original music: «Moscow @ 3 am», 2009, featuring Wynton Marsalis, and «Special Opinion», 2013, featuring Mike Stern, Randy Brecker, and Dave Weckl.
Since 2009, Levinovsky has been working as the principal arranger of Igor Butman’s Moscow Jazz Orchestra. Orchestra’s 2011 «Sheherazade’s Tales» CD featured Levinovsky’s ingenious arrangements of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov’s music and traditional Russian romances. In January 2017, Igor Butman’s Quintet recorded Levinovsky’s fusion masterpiece «Legend» at Avatar Studios in New York City, and the album is out soon.