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o'donel levy

O'Donel Levy

b. O'Donel Levy, a.k.a. 'Butch', 20th September 1945, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

d. 14th March 2016, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

O'Donel Levy was an American, Rhythm & Blues, Funk and Jazz guitarist. 

Born in Baltimore, Maryland, O’Donel studied at the Peabody Institute at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

He then relocated to New York City.

O’Donel toured with George Benson and Jimmy McGriff for a while, before signing to the Groove Merchant imprint.

O'Donel LevyO'Donel LevyO'Donel LevyO'Donel Levy

black velvet - 1971 / breeding of mind - 1972 / simba - 1973 / everything i do gonna be funky - 1974

In 1971, he released his debut album, ‘Black Velvet’.

In 1972 he released a live album recorded at the Cook County Jail in Chicago.

The same year ‘Breeding Of Mind’ was also released on Groove Merchant

O’Donel became part of the Jimmy McGriff quintet.

In 1973, he released Dawn Of A New Day’ along with the, Sonny Lester produced album, ‘Simba’, which featured the instrumental ‘Joni’.

The line-up for this album featured Warren Bernhardt, Cecil Bridgewater, Eddie Daniels, Jon Faddis, Steve Gadd, Tony Levin, Lew Soloff, and Bill Watrous.

The track ‘Bad, Bad Simba’ was covered by Paprika Soul in 2001.


‘Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky’ was released in 1974, and featured the dancer, ‘Hey Love’.


1976’s ‘Windows’ featured the excellent ‘Freedom And Good Times‘.

O'Donel LevyO'Donel LevyO'Donel LevyO'Donel Levy

windows - 1976 / time has changed - 1977 / through a song - 1982 / in the name of love - 2004


1977’s album ’Time Has Changed’, featured the popular ’Sophisticated Disco’ and the title track, ’Time Has Changed’.

The album was released on the LRC imprint and featured the vocals of Aleta Greene.

O’Donel has performed at a number of festivals.

He was one of the attractions at the Montreux Festival in France.

During his career he, also, has appeared with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Wynton Marsalis, Jimmy McGriff, Jack McDuff.

O’Donel relocated to Singapore in the early Nineties.

He continued to perform at various festivals, including the Blues Fest in Jonesboro, Arizona, the Idyllwild Jazz Festival in California, and a January 2003 Tribute to Charlie Byrd at Peabody.

O’Donel returned to the States in 2002 and set up a new studio.

He, later, performed weekly shows at Courtney’s Place Restaurant in Randallstown in Maryland.

Sadly, O'Donel Levy passed away in March 2016.

O’Donel was the brother of the drummer Stafford Levy.

O'Donel Levy

Real Player


Black Velvet (Groove Merchant Records 1971)

Breeding of Mind (Groove Merchant Records 1972)

Dawn of a New Day (Groove Merchant Records 1973)

Simba (Groove Merchant Records 1974)

Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (Groove Merchant Records 1974)

Windows (Groove Merchant Records 1976)

Time Has Changed (Lester Radio Corporation Records 1977)

Through a Song (ILM Records 1982)

Asia Beat (self-release Records 2004)

In the Name of Love (Room 302 Records 2005)

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