Lou Levy; Pianist Accompanied Jazz and Pop Greats
Lou Levy, 72, a pianist who accompanied some of the finest singers in jazz and pop music, including Ella Fitzgerald, Peggy Lee, Anita O’ Day, Frank Sinatra and Sarah Vaughan. Born in Chicago, Levy studied piano as a youth and worked first for a bandleader named Chubby Jackson, who introduced bebop music to Sweden on tour in 1947. Levy later joined bands led by Woody Herman, playing with future greats such as Stan Getz, Zoot Sims and Shorty Rogers, and by Georgie Auld. He moved to California in the mid-1950s and found steady work with several of the leading singers in jazz and pop music. He was Lee’s accompanist for years, performed on several of Fitzgerald’s popular songbook albums and played behind Vaughan and O’Day. He played piano accompaniment on the Sinatra standard “My Way.” When not working as an accompanist, Levy performed in bands led by saxophonist Getz, Benny Goodman and Shelley Manne. Influenced by the style of Bud Powell, Levy’s playing was known for its smooth sophistication and subtle swing. A memorial service is scheduled for 2 p.m. today at the Musician’s Union, 817 N. Vine St., Los Angeles. On Tuesday in Dana Point of a heart attack.