Those who complain that critics categorize their music and pigeonhole their work would do well to heed the example of Tony Levin. The bassist and multi-instrumentalist, who departed Rochester in 1970 to take on New York City and subsequently the world, is one of the rare few that lives a life of sacrifice to the creative muse—wherever it takes him. Over the last thirty-some years, that muse has lured him into recording collaborations with the major artists of our era, everyone from John Lennon to Peter Gabriel, King Crimson to Alice Cooper, T Bone Burnett to David Bowie, Tracy Chapman to The Indigo Girls. Although nominally a bassist, Levin has transcended the bounds of that instrument. Few can equal his pursuit of excellence on projects that find him comfortable in the largest of stadiums and the smallest of clubs. When Tony Levin agrees to participate with an artist, witness the stellar examples in this Magna Carta compilation, he becomes a key actor, never part of the scenery. Always he demonstrates an abiding awareness of the traditional role of bass while challenging himself to explore the possibilities. What you hear on Tony Levin Prime Cuts are six examples of his ability to inject a contemporary edge. When an artist asks Tony Levin to record, he or she knows that the music will gain a hip awareness that goes far beyond the itinerant session bassist’s stock and trade.
Kindred Spirits- We see Levin in Liquid Tension Experiment alongside Mike Portnoy, Jordan Rudess, and John Petrucci. This is no timid track! Although the energy suggests a live recording, this is studio mastery and features Levin weaving strands of bass, Stick, and upright. Here we see his essential traits in abundance: his ability to anchor a piece of music while injecting adrenaline; his knack of providing harmonic depth and interest; and, not least, his mission to rock!
T & T Vignette- An unreleased track from the Black Light Syndrome sessions, featuring Levin and another pioneer, Terry Bozzio, who together create a probing collage of sounds.
Another Dimension- Culled from the repertoire of Liquid Tension Experiment2. Again, Tony stretches the