Charles Lester Music - celebrating the art of improvisational music
Ike Levin

"Ike's music answers to a higher order where originality is the sole determinant of success." - Frank Rubolino, Cadence Magazine and One Final Note

Ike Levin has been playing reed instruments professionally for over 25 years. A native of Chicago, Ike was an active performer in the city's jazz, blues, and new music scene before relocating to the San Francisco Bay Area. He studied music at the Roosevelt University Conservatory of Music and in the Jazz Music Studies program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. While a student, Ike performed as a regular member of the University Jazz Ensemble and the Jazz Members Big Band comprised of many top Chicago area jazz musicians performing original compositions. He studied privately with legendary reed jazz master Joe Daley who helped him establish his technique and neo-bop musical roots. In addition, he studied with Fred Anderson, one of the co-founders of the Chicago based Association For The Advancement of Creative Music (AACM). Under the tutelage of Fred Anderson, Ike begin to explore new musical frontiers of spontaneously improvised, creative music. However, his true musical learning came from listening to the many great jazz artists who came through Chicago's jazz clubs, and his sitting in with Chicago jazz artists in the many jam sessions that were held throughout the city. He continues to draw upon his bebop linked foundations as he pushes the boundaries of tonality and harmony, and exploring the blending together of different musical forms and genres.

A diverse range of musical influences are evident in his approach to his instruments and improvisation. These influences include John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Dexter Gordan, Eric Dolphy, Ornette Coleman, and Thelonious Monk. Other important musical influences include the work of such modern orchestral composers as Bartok, Pendercki, and Boulez.

In addition, to Chicago and San Francisco, Ike has performed in cities across the US and Canada including Cleveland, Phoenix, Milwaukee, Detroit, New Orleans, St. Louis, and Toronto. He has played with a host of internationally recognized jazz artists. In addition to Joel Futterman, Ike has performed with Von Freeman, Ira Sullivan, Robert Barry, Wilbur Campbell, Gene Ammons, Ed Petersen, and Bay Area jazz stalwarts Robert Porter, Yancy Taylor, and Smiley Winters.


2006 Live at The Blue Monk, The Joel Futterman, Alvin Fielder, Ike Levin Trio, CLM-26-009

2006 Enigma, The Joel Futterman /Ike Levin Duo, CLM

2004 Resolving Doors, The Joel Futterman, Alvin Fielder, Ike Levin Trio CLM-26-007

Live at the Noe Valley Ministry, The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Trio with Kash Killion

, The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Trio with Cash Killian, IML 26-004

The Present Gift
, The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Duo, IML, 26-003

, The Joel Futterman/Ike Levin Trio with Randall Hunt, IML, 26-001

Spherical Dance, The Ike Levin Quartet, IML 26-002

Representative Media Coverage:

"He blows with conviction, exuding long lines of mournful passion that overflow with dynamic tension" Frank Rubolino, Cadence

"Levin's tenor … can scorch your ears…" Dick Metcalf, Improvijazzation Nation

"Levin demonstrates a robust tone complete with soulful lines and shrewd utilization of space and chromatic scales…" Glenn Astarita, All About Jazz

"Ike is a tenor man with broad shoulders, but a sensitive approach…" Alan Blum. Chicago Reader

"Lyrical and powerful with fresh ideas…" Mandy Lewis, Chicago Jazz Scene

"Saxophonist Ike Levin possesses a strong, solid tone that owes as much to Warne Marsh as to John Coltrane…" Scott Hreha, One Final Note