Stan Levey

Grand Stan

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Stan Levey cut precious few sessions as a leader, none of them more engaging than Grand Stan. Cut in the middle of the drummer's five-year tenure with Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All-Stars, the album crackles with energy and invention, capturing the West Coast bop aesthetic at its most potent. Aided by then-unknown pianist Sonny Clark, trumpeter Conte Condoli, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and tenorist Richie Kamuca, Levey creates an expansive rhythmic canvas for his collaborators, stretching out most songs past the five-minute mark to accommodate a series of crisp, finely honed solos. Even though it's his name above the title, Levey rarely vaults to the forefront of songs like "Hit That Thing," "Blues at Sunrise," and "Angel Cake." His drumming is remarkably nuanced and direct, driving the music forward with uncommon grace.

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