The ruthless force of creativity who helped found Bebop, fought John Lennon, and always got paid is back in the news!
Morris Levy, the greatest gangster in the history of the record business, is finally getting his just recognition in Godfather of the Music Business: Morris Levy (American Made Music Series), a new biography by Richard Carlin for the University Press of Mississippi, a highly regarded publisher with full academic distribution.
The book chronicles Levy’s rise and fall as the impresario of NYC’s Birdland jazz club, founder of Roulette Records, and bagman for the Italian mafia starting from his days as a street urchin to his death amidst a harsh indictment by the U.S. Justice System for his gangster ways.
Legend has it that as a teenage runaway, Levy hitchhiked from NYC to Miami to work in the hatcheck and photo concessions at mob owned clubs on Miami Beach as well as in Manhattan
Henry Stone, who was forced into an orphanage as a kid during the Great Depression, said that in a back-of-the-limo convo with Morris on the way to Levy’s horse farm in upstate New York, the two discovered that while Henry was stuck living in a Pleasantville orphanage, Levy was locked up in a juvenile detention facility a few miles down the road, and that the two facilities used to compete in athletics.
Throughout a long and iconic career as music mogul, Levy’s dealings with Stone ran decades. A few of them, such as their partnership in pioneering electro hip hop label Sunnyview Records are mentioned in the book, as are Levy and Stone’s shaping of the career and downfall of infamous Payola DJ Alan Freed.
Carlin’s carefully researched work is going to give students and scholars an excellent perspective on the music business and you have got to read it for yourself. A+. Awesome book. Go get it now!!!
Here are some screenshots of the Henry Stone mentions.
This article was written by ©Jake Katel. All Rights Reserved