Howard Levy is an acknowledged master of the diatonic harmonica, a superb pianist, innovative composer, recording artist, bandleader, teacher, producer, and Chicago area resident. In 1970 at the age of 19, he started playing the diatonic harmonica as a fully chromatic instrument, which opened new possibilities for an instrument that had been limited to playing Folk and Blues.
Equally at home in Jazz, Classical, Rock, Folk, Latin, and World Music, the two- time Grammy Award Winner is a favorite with audiences worldwide as well as a recording artist sought after by the likes of Kenny Loggins, Dolly Parton, Paquito D’Rivera, Styx, Donald Fagen, Paul Simon, etc.
Howard has appeared on hundreds of CDs and played on several movie soundtracks. He is perhaps best known for his recordings with Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, a unique band that set the musical world on its ear back in the early 1990’s. Howard’s subsequent collaborations include three CDs with Trio Globo (Glen Velez and Eugene Friesen), two with Rabih Abou Khalil, and one with the Riessler/Levy/Matinier Trio.
His recent recordings include Chévere de Chicago’s Secret Dream and Time Capsules with his band Acoustic Express, on his own label, Balkan Samba Records, and Trio Globo’s Steering by the Stars on Stonecutter Records. His solo CD Alone and Together on Balkan Samba and trio CD Tonight and Tomorrow on the Chicago Sessions label both received 4-star reviews in DownBeat.
"I've always preferred the sound of a Hohner. The overblows,overdraws work better on it.
They just do." – Howard Levy
I have played Hohners since I bought my first Marine Band back in 1969. I've tried many different brands of harmonicas, but for me Hohner has always been the best.
In 2011 Howard released a classical CD featuring his “Concerto for Diatonic Harmonica and Orchestra,” and recorded a reunion CD, Rocket Science, with Bela Fleck and The Flecktones. He won a “Best Instrumental Composition” Grammy for co- writing “Life in Eleven” on this CD.
In 2009 Howard Levy began teaching harmonica lessons online through ArtistWorks, a uniquely interactive way to learn online.