People often ask me, “How did you get into this old music?” I tell them I had no choice: my dad was playing Muddy Waters on the guitar to me when I was in my mom’s belly. My love for blues piano hit me when I saw the movie “Ray,” at the age of five. I soon was introduced to more Chicago Blues and New Orleans R&B. I loved listening, but I knew that I wanted to do more than listen. I wanted to play.
I started playing piano when I was eight years old, and have been taking lessons with my mentor, legendary Cincinnati-based and world-renowned boogie/blues player Ricky Nye ever since. In addition to Ricky, my biggest influences are Pinetop Perkins, Big Joe Duskin, and Professor Longhair. I’ve also learned a lot from listening to the greats such as Otis Spann, Sunnyland Slim, and of course, Ray Charles.
I just finished recording my first album with Ricky on drums, Chris Douglas on bass, and my Dad, Aron Levin on guitar. It reflects all of my influences over the years, and my originals never stray far from my roots. I hope you have as much fun listening to the album as I had making it.
Ben Levin is a 17 year old blues/boogie woogie piano player and vocalist from Cincinnati, Ohio. He is one of only a handful of “fourth generation” boogie woogie musicians in the US. Ben started playing professionally at age 11 with his father’s band, the Heaters, and since then has played over 200 gigs in a variety of configurations: with The Heaters, or with his own band, The Ben Levin Trio. Recently, Ben won second place in the solo/duo category of the Cincinnati Blues Challenge with the Ben Levin Duo. This duo consists of Ben alongside his mentor and friend Ricky Nye, who went back to his musical roots to back up Ben on drums.
He has played prestigious shows/events, such as Cincinnati, OH's Cincy Blues Fest, Chicago Blues Fest, Ricky Nye’s Blues & Boogie Piano Summit, and too many clubs and restaurants to list.
2017 is a big year for Ben, as he is headed to France to play in the 19th annual Festival de Boogie Woogie in LaRoquebrou, France, where 15,000 blues/boogie enthusiasts from all over the world gather for three days of music and dancing. Ben will also release his first CD, Ben’s Blues in 2017. In November Ben will head to Iowa City to play at Chase Garret's annual Piano Stomp at the Englert Theater, and a mini-tour of St. Louis.