“She’s got a good thing going: fresh and gloomy, light-voiced and grim-tempered. She’s not out to clobber you with speed or skill or projection — she hangs back but arrives at the notes responsibly, without a big show, incorporating careful 1950s cool but authentic modern cynicism, too.” — The New York Times
Allegra Levy ’11 is a sultry vocalist who has recently taken the international jazz scene by storm. She is a raven-haired rarity whose rich tones lean toward the lower register. She is a graduate of the New England Conservatory in Boston, MA where she studied under jazz legendaries and luminaries. At 25, she has already made a name for herself as a singer, composer and band leader and has been said to truly have her own voice and an emotive, unique sound. She has gained respect as a composer and has written a catalog of catchy, original music that brings a fresh sound to the New York jazz scene.
Currently living in: Hong Kong- after finishing a seven-month artist residency at The Blue Bar Four Seasons Hotel
Highlight of your performance season? The highlight of my performance season was my album release show at Cornelia Street Café with Carmen Staaf, Joe Martin, Jochen Reuckert, John Bailey, Adam Kolker, and Aubrey Johnson. It's one of those historic venues I always wanted to play at, and now I know why. The energy of the room was fantastic, the musicians were all attuned to one another, and the crowd was easy to engage and supportive. I've never felt happier playing my music.
I'm looking forward to getting back to NYC this spring to continue playing with great musicians and friends (from NEC and beyond)!
How did NEC affect the way you think about and make music? NEC was an incredibly energizing environment. The one thing that really remains true is that NEC encourages musicians to be creative and discover their own voices. Everyone wrote music and was all for the progressive and cutting edge. That was so enlivening to be around. I don't know if I would've been so inspired to write tunes if I hadn't gotten the chance to be at NEC.
What is your favorite NEC memory? My favorite memory was my first event with the student organization I started called Musicians for Humanity. It was amazing to see all of my friends pouring their time, energy, and music into a truly worthy cause. The music was heartfelt and moving, and the money we raised went to Haitian earthquake relief. That event showed that NEC students were part of the global community and able to make change in the world through music.
What would be your dream collaboration? My dream collaboration would be to sing with Nancy King and play with Fred Hersch. I never got the chance to play with him during the four years I attended NEC, and his duo album with Nancy King shows them both to be two of the greatest collaborators on the jazz scene today. I respect and admire them both so immensely!
What is your greatest passion outside of music? I love to cook. Pies are my specialty. Maybe there'll be a jazz and pie café of my creation someday.
Photo by Deneka Peniston