Floyd Levin was a Los Angeles textile manufacturer who turned his passion for jazz into a second career as an influential jazz journalist and historian. The collection consists of research materials including biographical files. In addition, there are numerous photographs that were taken and collected by Levin.
Scope and Contents:
Research materials on jazz, jazz artists, jazz festivals and jazz organizations compiled by Levin over several decades. The richest portion is the series of biographical files on jazz artists, with emphasis on lesser known but influential artists, and includes such things as obituaries, memorial programs, press releases, concert programs, and newsletters. Photographs are also widely found in this series, many of them inscribed to, or taken with Levin and his wife Lucille, as well as posters, recordings, letters and other correspondence, awards and plaques, Levin's writings, business cards, newspaper articles, advertisements, and miscellaneous ephemeral items. Artists who are strongly represented include one-time Ellington Orchestra clarinetist "Barney" (Albany Leon) Bigard, who was a close personal friend of the Levins and whose personal papers are in the collection; Louis Armstrong; "Jelly Roll" (Ferdinand Lemott) Morton; "Wild" Bill Davison; "Duke" (Edward Kennedy) Ellington; Joe Darensbourg; Edward Bertram "Montudie" Garland; "Kid" (Edward) Ory; "Eubie" (James Herbert) Blake; and "Rosy" (James) McHargue.
The collection is divided into ten series.
Series 1, Personal Papers, 1920-2010, undated
Series 2, Correspondence, 1948-2006, undated
Series 3, Research Materials, 1914-2006, undated
Series 4, Writings, 1949-2006, undated
Series 5, Artists Files, 1880-2010, undated
Subseries 5.1, General Materials, 1880-2010, undated
Subseries 5.2, Obituaries, 1941-2004
Subseries 5.3, Interviews, 1969-2001
Series 6, Subject Files, 1916-2004, undated
Series 7, General Materials, 1908-2006, undated
Series 8, Jazz Organizations and Publications, 1943-2010, undated
Series 9, Photographs, 1939-2001, undated
Series 10, Audiovisual Materials, 1964-1997, undated
Subseries 10.1, Audiocassettes, 1970-1997, undated
Subseries 10.2, Compact Discs, 1966-1994, undated
Subseries 10.3, Sound Tape Reels, 1964-1973, undated
Biographical / Historical:
Floyd Levin (1922 - 2007) was a Los Angeles textile manufacturer who turned his passion for jazz into a second, contemporaneous, career as an influential jazz journalist and historian. His numerous reviews, profiles, and articles were published in magazines such as Down Beat, Jazz Journal International, Metronome, and American Rag. He also authored Classic Jazz: A Personal View of the Music and the Musicians (University of California Press, 2000), which –like his articles – chronicled his first-hand encounters with countless jazz musicians. In 1949, he co-founded the Southern California Hot Jazz Society, the second-oldest jazz appreciation club in the country. Levin led the drive to create the Louis Armstrong Park and statue in New Orleans in the 1970s. During his career, he conducted scores of oral history interviews with jazz musicians, which he donated to NMAH and to Tulane University's jazz archive. He received several awards for his work, including the Leonard Feather Communicator Award, given annually by the Los Angeles Jazz Society. Levin died in 2007.
Donated to the Archives Center in 2011 by Floyd Levin's widow, Lucille Levin.
The collection is open for research. Only reference copies of audiovisual materials may be used.
Reproduction restricted due to copyright or trademark. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.