It’s hard to overstate the immeasurable legacy left behind by Nina Simone, one of jazz music’s most inventive and resilient icons. Born on this day, February 21, in 1933, Simone quietly produced an output of almost two dozen albums spanning classical, blues and early R&B, while channeling bold social commentary and civil rights activism through her work. While she only received two GRAMMY Award nominations in her lifetime (and two posthumously), Simone’s artistry continues to earn newfound meaning through the music of countless contemporary artists, documentaries and books. Today, as part of our ongoing celebration of Black History Month, we’re taking a look at why Nina Simone’s contributions to music are cemented in history.
It’s Valentine’s Day and love is in the air! Whether you’re celebrating with your better half, best friends or family members, you’re probably looking for the perfect music to set the mood. Well, what’s better than a specially curated playlist of love songs by Levitt artists?! Tune in with the embedded player below to hear country, R&B, soul, blues and more, all connected by the soothing and harmonious sounds of love.
With spring just around the corner, and seasons of free Levitt concerts around the country just within reach, we hope you’re looking forward to enjoying some incredible live music with your loved ones too!
Last week, the 2018 Levitt AMP Grantees joined the Levitt Foundation for the annual Levitt AMP convening at La Plaza de Cultura y Artes in Los Angeles! It was an honor to host these inspiring leaders in the arts and share ideas throughout two days of panels, presentations and group discussions.
With 15 small to mid-sized towns and cities from California all the way to Rhode Island, this year’s grantees truly represent the breadth of community spirit and placemaking efforts happening across the country. The endless enthusiasm in the room led to fruitful brainstorming and some truly meaningful exchanges. Each attendee left the convening with a newfound sense of energy and inspiration–we can’t wait to see how each Levitt AMP Music Series unfolds with great success this summer and fall!
With almost 20,000 booths, interactive workshops, lectures and more, this year’s National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, Calif., was one of the biggest yet. What’s this convention all about? This exciting, four-day event showcases some of the latest innovations and state-of-the-art developments in music, stage and production technology. Musicians, producers, technicians, engineers, teachers and artists from all over the world convene once a year to network, get the latest industry scoop and, of course, spend hours geeking out over some high-quality gear. Here are some standouts from this year’s convention!
To witness a performance by Blind Boys of Alabama is to witness history in the making—with a career spanning more than seven decades, countless accolades and a remarkable output of recorded music, Blind Boys has become synonymous with the genre of gospel itself. That’s why the upcoming Levitt National Tour, co-headlined by them and Southern rock luminary, Paul Thorn, is sure to be one of the most unique musical experiences Levitt audiences around the country will be treated to. Today, we’re recounting some of the most inspiring stories from Blind Boys’ time-honored lives as musicians!
As 2018 begins, anticipation is running high for the Levitt National Tour, returning this summer! Stopping in seven Levitt locations (six existing permanent Levitt venues and one future Levitt venue), the tour will feature the rootsy southern rock of Paul Thorn and old-school gospel of Blind Boys of Alabama—a union of critically acclaimed and universally loved talent that’s truly a one-of-a-kind collaboration. To hold us over until summer, Paul Thorn just announced the release date of his upcoming album—“Don’t Let The Devil Ride,” out on March 23! These 14 songs feature vocals by Blind Boys of Alabama, who are set to co-headline the Levitt National Tour and perform songs from the album across all tour stops.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, the composers behind the soundtrack of The Greatest Showman, accept the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song, Motion Picture at the Golden Globe Awards on January 7, 2018.
This past weekend, the Golden Globe Awards recognized the wide range of talent that entertained audiences across movie theaters and TV screens throughout 2017. From the small-town noir of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”, which won Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Screenplay, Best Actress Motion Picture – Drama (Frances McDormand) and Best Supporting Actor Motion Picture (Sam Rockwell), to the coming-of-age tale of Aziz Ansari’s “Master of None” (Best Actor Television Series – Musical or Comedy), there was no dearth of rich, relatable and diverse storytelling celebrated. One of the highlights from the evening was the award for Best Original Song Motion Picture, awarded to the anthemic “This is Me” from the Michael Gracey-directed musical period piece, The Greatest Showman.
Today, the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation awarded $375,000 in matching grants to 15 nonprofits serving small to mid-sized towns and cities across America to produce free outdoor concerts, as part of the fourth annual Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards. Reflecting the Levitt Foundation’s commitment to creative placemaking projects generating community support, once again the Foundation opened the Levitt AMP selection process to the public to choose the top 25 finalists. Continue reading
2017 has been an incredibly impactful and memorable year for the Levitt network, with hundreds of free concerts strengthening communities all over the country. From the Levitt National Tour to Levitt AMP Music Series in small and mid-sized towns and cities to season-long free concert series at permanent Levitt venues, there was too much good music to keep up with! Today, we’re looking back on the songs that grabbed our attention throughout the year. From the quirky-yet-anthemic hit “Wow” by Beck to the Latin jazz-influenced soul of Gabriel Garzón-Montano, check out the Levitt staff’s favorite picks of 2017 below:
As born and bred Angelenos, Mayra Vega and Aaron Garcia can’t get enough of the unique and eclectic musical offerings of Levitt Pavilion Los Angeles in MacArthur Park. Every night is a new experience; whether it’s jazz and blues, cumbia, or even country music, Aaron and Mayra can rely on Levitt LA’s high-quality programming to enjoy the music they love and know, while expanding their horizons.