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Josh Levine: Bio

I'm Josh Levine, bassist, vocalist and director of Guataca.  Guataca is a Cuban expression that means play by ear, follow along, make it happen and above all, swing.  It's an attitude that can applied to music and to life.

In the fall of 1989, my father took me to hear pianist Cedar Walton's Trio.  There, at Sweet Basil, enveloped in the wondrous sound of Cedar with drummer Billy Higgins and bassist Ron Carter, feeling blissful and awed, I fell in love with the double bass.

We rented a bass and I signed up for lessons and Saturday school at Manhattan School of Music.  I also started hanging out as much as possible at a neighborhood bar called Augie's -- now Smoke.  Augie's was a gathering place for some of the best jazz musicians in New York City and I was fortunate to hear them several times a week for the price of a $3 corona plus tip.

I played for The NYC High School Jazz Ensemble, graduated from Stuyvesant HS, and earned bachelors degrees in biology and music from Oberlin.

After college, I returned to NYC to continue to learn from the city's diverse musical community and be part of it.

Now I perform regularly with my own group, Guataca and as a sideman with other bands.

Years with the Cotton Club All-Stars under the direction of Eddie and Al Pasante gave me a firm foundation in swing.

As a member of Los Acustilocos, I was schooled in Venezuelan music by Roberto Fuentes, director of the Venezuelan musical theater comedy group La Alpargata Cantorum.

As the bassist for the Cuban son trio Son Amigos, I was tutored in Cuban music by José Luis Martínez, a founding member of Cuba’s Los Van Van.

I maintain an enduring partnership with veteran blues and ragtime guitarist Frank Schaap, who is portrayed by Steve Earle on the HBO series Tremé.

While my principal instrument is the double bass, I also sing and play accordions, guitars and keyboards.

Discography (available on iTunes and

Chromachord Dream, Josh Levine, 2011

Los Hipsters No Bailan, Son de Brooklyn, 2009

Two Buskers’ Blues, Frank Schaap & Josh Levine, 2008

Le Demimonde, Angus Martin, 2008

Bossa Lunatica,  Angus Martin, 2008

Josh Levine for Kids, Josh Levine, 2006

 Pre’squile, 2005, Angus Martin

Frutas del Caney, Son Amigos, 2004

Los Acustilocos, Los Acustilocos, 2000