In Memoriam: Ken Levinson


If you’re in contemporary jazz, then you probably heard of Ken Levinson before. You probably knew him on Facebook, or if you travel, you hung out with him and his wonderful wife, Robin, at many a show.

What you don’t know is that Ken Levinson was one of the people thanks to whom contemporary jazz had stayed alive. Ken created the Smooth Jazz Spot FB groups, which became the place for advertising jazz shows. This is where so many new artists came to show us all what they could do. In 2010, when the radio stations were collapsing left and right, Ken was the one who took it to the social media networks, and kept an entire genre breathing.

A true unsung hero to us all. A friend to many. A voice of reason and of peace in many ways. Someone calm and steady, someone with a long-range view of things, someone who knew what to do, how to go about it, and enjoyed everything he set himself out to do.

To this day I remember 2011 – Oasis Jazz Awards went under, and both he and Bruce Nazarian got on the phones, mobilized everyone, and salvaged the event within 24 hours. Smaller scale, of course, but the artists who were there already had a gig, had an audience – and those two were to thank for it.

I met Ken and his wonderful wife, Robin, later that year. Dave Koz show in Atlantic City.

And again, in Ft. Lauderdale, 2012? I think? before I sailed off on CapJazz that year.

To all of us, to many, many of us, he was The Smooth Man.

Guys, I ask you this: donate to the family at this link:

Please. For our Ken.