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Levin Brothers: Levin Brothers

Siblings go back to their cool jazz roots.

Despite featuring on each other’s work, Tony and Pete Levin have never made an album as a pair before.

The classically trained Bostonians have, of course, played with big names: Tony’s bass has graced songs by King Crimson and Peter Gabriel; Pete’s keyboards have accompanied Miles Davis, Gil Evans and Jaco Pastorius. They’ve toured together in Paul Simon’s band too, but on this, their first recording as a duo, their shared childhood love of 50s cool jazz emerges, in particular the work of Oscar Pettiford and Julius Watkins. Tony plays cello and bass; Pete piano and organ. Suited up, they’re assisted by drummer Steve Gadd (Tony’s schoolmate) and guitarist David Spinozza. They play tight, melodic numbers that evoke smoky, era-specific Parisian nightclubs – or elevator muzak, depending on your taste for this sort of thing. It’s an homage, but they’ve written all the material themselves, bar one ‘cover’: an elegant interpretation of King Crimson’s Matte Kudasai, where they pleasingly loosen their ties and stretch. If you’re an aficionado of the genre, you’ll appreciate their enthusiasm and verve. Their lifelong respect for it is crystal clear.

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.