What People Are Saying

About Dan Levinson

“This genial yet intense young man, wise far beyond his years, exults in steering his course down roads less travelled, exploring forms of popular music – including but not restricted to jazz – often neglected or forgotten by a fickle posterity. He’s managed it alongside an active career as one of the most versatile and sought-after reed players in today’s classic jazz field. Perched heron-like on a high stool in his Washington Square apartment, at ease amid his vast collection of CDs, LPs, and 78 rpm records, this tall, lean man exudes an air of cheerful dedication. No dusty pedantry here: his curiosity about bands that came and went long before his lifetime is clearly driven by joy in unlocking rare and precious musical secrets. It’s led him into some singular explorations, particularly in the rich fermentation of American popular music. Levinson started listening carefully, and uncovered a richly variegated musical tapestry of individuals and ensembles.”

– RICHARD M. SUDHALTER, jazz trumpeter/scholar/critic/author

“I can’t tell you what a treat it was to experience the excitement of Dan Levinson’s
music played live, in wide open air, under twinkling stars.
There is an image of the evening forever etched in my mind: from my
vantage point, the band was so hot, cookin’ up a tune, that I just had to pause what I was doing and watch. In my mind’s eye I can still see the profile of Dan stepping ever
so slightly forward, taking the lead, and glowing like fire under the lights – in stark contrast to the dark sky. It was an
incredible thing to see and hear as he gently laced his instrument
into the momentum of the music, and, in an upward visible arc, seemed to hurl it over the top. He was like a musical Hercules, unleashing an incredible musical
energy out into the wild, open heavens. Gorgeous and thrilling!”

– MARIE STOLARICK, concert presenter, Misericordia University

“Dan Levinson is a Manhattan-based clarinet and sax player with a passion for vintage jazz and the chops to play any of it in any style. Protean though his playing can be, he also sounds like Levinson, a player who has assimilated the classic styles and sees them through a modern lens.”

– B.A. NILSSON, Metroland

“Dan Levinson makes the world a better place every time he plays.”

– WILL FRIEDWALD, author/music historian/critic

“Dan Levinson is the last echo I have of Frank Teschemacher; he’s a national treasure. He has enriched my life and I’m so glad to know him.”

– GEORGE AVAKIAN, record producer

“Dan Levinson deserves recognition for all the work he has done to elevate himself to this position of prominence among his peers. I know of no one who has been as active as Dan, working to keep the roots of traditional jazz watered and fertilized with the energy of youth and growing in acceptance by today’s audiences. It’s a rare pleasure to be a friend to a person like Dan – a person who has set goals and achieved them, a person who excels at what he does because he was willing to put in the hours of practice to be the best. I wish I lived in New York where I could continue to enjoy his playing, his talent, and his good nature.”

– DON JONES, The American Rag

“Dan Levinson is indeed the Mister Music of the New Age of Jazz – plus all the others. He is a definitive jazz musician with a
broadening vision that no longer surprises me. Music should be about entertainment and joy – pleasing us,
the audience – and Dan Levinson has always done that. I would judge that he is one of the few people in the business today equipped to re-ignite
that priceless role of the music – through his attitude, his
energy, and his total musicianship. I’m proud to know him.”

– MAX MORATH, noted pianist/composer/actor/music historian

“Dan Levinson’s seven-piece orchestra played a spirited evocation of a bygone era that had both modern precision playing and the paradoxical limitations-as-strength of the originals. Their most exciting moments came when they burst the bonds of 32-bar solos to swap phrases in a spiraling dance of riffs, colliding, coalescing, circling around each other and going home together.”


“Dan Levinson’s music just sparkles, and the joy he experiences as he plays is so palpable and infectious! His playing lifts the spirits and creates many smiles among his listeners.”

– NICK BROOKS, writer/producer/director (son of actor/director Mel Brooks)

“Levinson has been a stalwart champion of keeping alive the sounds of early jazz and ragtime music.”

– JOE LANG, Jersey Jazz magazine

“Dan Levinson’s love for early jazz is evident in his musicianship and, most importantly, infectious to all who know him. It’s a delight to listen to his music over and over again and pick up more and more nuances of his outstanding musicianship. As soon as I heard his band play the other night, I was hooked. But the piece de resistance was the moment Dan began to demonstrate his passion and skill at both the clarinet and sax. Then I was truly mesmerized. His musicianship was flawless. He created a memory that I will never forget. Bravo!”

– MARGARET SAMELA, The American Rag (Letters to the Editor)

“Listening to Dan Levinson the other night, I was typically blown away by not just his musical virtuosity, but his stage presence and real stage personality. He’s the best clarinetist/saxophonist I’ve ever heard. Goodman played Goodman, Shaw played Shaw, Woody Herman played Woody Herman, and on and on. Levinson can play them all. He goes out of his way to please his audiences, fans and friends. He’s kind, self-deprecating and always gives others credit to a fault. On top of that, he makes CDs to preserve, protect and defend a long-gone era of music. The joy he brings to all of us is immeasurable.”

– RAY RICHARDS, jazz presenter

“My wife Pat and I were never at a performance of any kind where, when the last note was played or the last word was uttered, the entire audience instantly stood as if the place were on fire! From the first tune, which was a masterful presentation, to the last, Dan Levinson’s band was absolutely sensational.”

– JOHN TIERNEY, The American Rag (Letters to the Editor)

“Dan Levinson brings such enthusiasm, warmth, heart, talent, craziness, humor, and good cheer to the music he shares so affectionately with his audiences. I cannot think of times in my life when I have felt more thoroughly entertained and connected to the performers than when I am listening to his music. Such sensitivity and love, as if he were sharing some rare recipe or flower that has been forgotten with the march of time. In a world so much in turmoil and unease, he is a treasure for keeping this wonderful, joyful music alive.”

– CHARLES ROBERTS, music historian

“Dan Levinson is one of the most outstanding musicians in the history of Jazz who is writing new pages of this art form’s rich history!”

– NICK BLAGOEV, M.M.Ed., music scholar/founder and chairman of Philanthropy for the Arts, Inc.

“Dan Levinson was a highlight of the festival for us. The way he embraces the music and the members of his band surely is heart-warming to each person in the audience. He is someone we know we can trust to take us on a first class journey back in time with attention to the artistry and accuracy of the period. We were in awe of not only the way he plays, but also the way he honors his sidemen as friends and colleagues. It is also great to know that he is an artist who not only continues to honor some of our favorite musicians, but also that we can be turned on to great old music from some of his favorites whom we had not known too well. We’re thrilled to learn bits and pieces about the tunes, the eras and the musicians whom he and his bands celebrate. His passion enhances others’ passions.”

– MICKEY WEINER, jazz festival attendee

“We genuinely appreciate Dan Levinson’s master-level performance. We also appreciate his sacrifice for and devotion to classic jazz. To us, he has been not only presenting the beauty of arts and history but also defending the music heritage of our people.”

– WENDY WEN, jazz aficionado

“I can’t remember hearing a clarinetist whose sound I enjoy more than Dan Levinson’s. The way he wraps around each and every note, using his instrument as an extension of his voice, unifying the instrumentation of the groups I’ve seen him with…it’s a beautiful thing. There are a lot of great musicians out there, but now and then, on a recording (old or new), the radio, or in person, you hear what can only be described as brilliance. That’s Dan Levinson.”

– HANNAH SIX, jazz aficionado

“Dan and the ensemble swung mightily and certainly equal the original Benny Goodman Orchestra. The roar from the audience and the loud applause are still ringing in my ears. There were more than a few swing fans with goose bumps!”

– JOHN MAIMONE, Jersey Jazz magazine

“We especially appreciate Dan Levinson’s interest in preserving jazz as a great American art form.”

– MAX FORBES, jazz aficionado

“Dan Levinson is indeed a great musician on my scorecard, with an incredible memory for jazz history, which makes his presentations even more interesting. I think I know his style after reading a few pages in Walter Isaacson’s Benjamin Franklin the other evening: ‘Franklin had learned…a secret to being more revered than resented…was to display (at least when he could muster the discipline) a self-depreciating humor, unpretentious demeanor, and unaggressive style in conversation.” Dan does it all better than Ben did! I stand ready to glow over his next achievement.”

– GORDON LOGAN, jazz festival attendee

“Dan Levinson is one of the most helpful people I’ve come across in New York. And one of the great clarinetists in town, period, who always goes out of his way for the music and other musicians.”

– AARON JOHNSON, clarinetist

“Dan Levinson is one of the most fluid soloists I have ever heard. He can play the whole musical palette of jazz and nail it every time. I wish I had this guy in college as a Jazz History instructor!”

– HOWARD MIYATA, The American Rag

“If this CD were a movie, Dan would be stealing every scene!”

– WILL OWEN, www.rambles.com

“Listening to the numerous audio samples on reedman Dan Levinson’s website makes one feel like they’re traveling back in time to a bygone era of tuxedoed orchestras playing lush arrangements of delightfully melodious music. In addition to a host of great musicians performing on Dan’s recordings, there are the sweet and clear vocals Molly Ryan.”

– NANCY GIFFIN And All That Jazz newsletter of the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society

“Levinson’s clarinet was authoritative and limber, his tenor sax smooth and flowing.”

– JOHN BITTER, The Mississippi Rag

“Dan Levinson stepped on stage impeccably dressed for his work, wearing a blue blazer, tie, and shoes with a military polish, out of respect for the audience and the music. He just looked right for what he does. He conveyed a love for the vintage jazz he played from that period of growth and development for the best of the art. It’s too easy to forget the wealth of fine songs left to gather dust that are unplayed or underplayed. But not for Dan Levinson. He takes them off the shelves and presents them with the artistry, respect and dignity they deserve. Some of the lyrics may be dated, but not the charm, messages and emotion.”

– HARVEY BARKAN, The American Rag