He grew up with classical music, majoring in French horn at Boston University and later at Juilliard in New York, where he also began playing Hammond Organ with New York jazz and pop groups while doing recording work on French Horn. In 1974 he got a call to play horn with legendary jazz arranger Gil Evans, and Gil made him a regular. A year later Pete brought a Moog synthesizer to an Evans gig. Gil loved it and Pete's role was permanently changed.
initiating the band's long transformation to the electronic/accoustic hybrid sound that won 2 Grammys. Among the first to explore synthesizers during the 70s, Pete became a sought-after sideman for recording and live performances. As a writer and musician he worked on film scores, jazz and pop records, and hundreds of TV and radio commercials. As production techniques changed during the 80s, Pete became a "programmer", orchestrating with electronic instruments under computerized MIDI control.
In this new millenium - while he continues to use computer technology and a mixture of new and vintage synthesizers - he has largely returned to his keyboard roots, perfoming mainly on piano and organ. Over the years, interspersed with Gil Evans, Paul Simon, Annie Lennox and Jimmy Giuffre Four tours, Pete has done arranging and electronic music for feature films including MISSING IN ACTION, LEAN ON ME, SILVER BULLET, THE COLOR OF MONEY and STAR TREK. He composed orchestral scores for the independent film, ZELIMO and a theatrical production of THE DYBBUK, created the electronic music score for Linda Rodgers' award-winning "Surgical Audiotape" series, created the official band/chorus arrangement of the U.S. Infantry song and composed the anthem for the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit, performing it in the U.N. General Assembly.
His favorite collaboration was with his brother, bassist Tony Levin and drummer Steve Gadd - "THE CLAMS", a Spike Jones tribute band - that produced a top-40 hit single "CLOSE TO YOU", now a cult classic. In 1989 Pete released his first solo jazz album, "Party In The Basement", for Gramavision Records. This was followed by "Solitary Man", two unique jazz Christmas CDs, The New Age of Christmas for Atlantic and Masters In This Hall for Gramavixion, both done with drummer Danny Gottlieb. Through the 90s, Pete recorded a series of electronic albums for Alternate Mode Records.
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