Howard Levy

"...Playing an extended solo that somehow merged quasi- baroque techniques with swing rhythms, snippets of hokey holiday tunes with passages of brilliant jazz improvisation, Levy unleashed more ideas in this opening solo than many musicians do in an entire set."
Howard Reich, The Chicago Tribune, Dec. 1996
"...Howard Levy is a revelation; there are times when it is hard to believe he is playing only a harmonica, for he has the expressive range and depth of a saxophonist."
Geoff Dyer, The London Observer, March 1994
"... may be the most radical single technical innovator in the history of his instrument..."
Kim Field, Harmonicas, Harps, and Heavy Breathers, Simon & Schuster 1993


Howard Levy is a musician without limits. His musical adventures include journeys into jazz, pop, rock, world music, Latin, classical, folk, blues, country, theater, and film. He has appeared on hundred of cd’s, won a Grammy (1997), won a Joseph Jefferson Award (1986) for Best Original Music for a Play, and has performed many times on American and European television and radio.
Universally acknowledged as the world’s most advanced diatonic harmonica player, Howard developed a fully chromatic style on the standard 10 - hole diatonic harmonica, revolutionizing harmonica playing and taking the instrument into totally new territory. He is also an accomplished pianist and composer, and plays many other instruments as well, including flute, ocarina, mandolin, saxophone, and percussion.
Howard was a founding member of the Bela Fleck and the
Flecktones. He toured and recorded two albums with Kenny Loggins, and formed Trio Globo with Eugene Friesen and Glen Velez . Howard has also performed and/or recorded with Dolly Parton, Styx, Bobby McFerrin, Paul Simon, John Prine, Paquito D’Rivera, Ken Nordine, and many others, as well as touring and recording extensively in Europe with artists such as Rabih Abou Khalil and Michael Riessler. Recent Highlights
In 2003, Howard released a jazz duo cd with Naumberg Award-winning pianist Anthony Molinaro, entitled The Molinaro/Levy Project “Live”. In 2002, he performed “On the Other Side...” (a triple concerto composed for him, a clarinetist and an accordianist) with The Bavarian State Radio Orchestra in Munich, Germany. In 2001, Howard was commisioned by The Illinois Philharmonic to compose a Harmonica Concerto, the first ever written for diatonic harmonica. Since the debut, he has performed it 9 times, with more perfomances scheduled.

Current Chicago Bands

Howard is music director of Chévere, Chicago’s hottest Latin-Jazz-Fusion Band, whose first cd will be released soon. He also leads a 4 piece band called “Howard Levy’s Accoustic Express”, also with a cd to be released soon.

Movies, Dance, Theater

Howard’s harmonica playing was featured on the soundtracks of “A
Family Thing”, “Striptease” , “ A Time to Kill” , “Straight Talk”, and
“Vietnam, A Long Time Coming”. In the dance world, Howard collaborated with Indian dancer Ranee Ramaswamy in “Where the Hands Go, The Eyes Follow”, a fusion of photography, poetry, dance, and music, all live, with poets Robert Bligh and Coleman Barks. In 2004 he performed with members of The Hubbard St. and Joffrey dance companies in “Moody Hollow”, choreographed by Lauri Stallings. In theater, he won a Joseph Jefferson Award for his music for Brecht’s “Puntila and his Hired Man” (1986). In 1997 he co-wrote the music for “Tales From Trashmania”, a one woman show by Bonnie Koloc.