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Prime Cuts: Tony Levin

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Album Review

Now before you get all excited thinking that Prime Cuts by Tony Levin is a career-spanning retrospective of the bass great's long-and-winding recording career, the truth is it's a six-track compilation of Levin's work on the Magna Carta label. The label is known primarily for uniting prog rock musicians and seeing what they can come up with, and Prime Cuts certainly features it's fair share of prog bombast, including Levin playing alongside three/fifths of Dream Theater on "Kindred Spirits" and "Another Dimension" (under the moniker Liquid Tension Experiment). Also included are a pair of moody tracks as part of collaborations with drummer Terry Bozzio — "T & T Vignette" and "Endless" (the latter of which also includes Billy Idol guitarist Steve Stevens), as well as a track credited to Magellan, "Brother's Keeper," which features an often key-ingredient for all things prog — some very pretentious lyrics. While not an adequate representation of the vast variety of artists Levin has played with over the years, Prime Cuts features some of the better prog-based tracks that Levin has appeared on via his Magna Carta recordings.

Customer Reviews

Another rip-off

Normally, these solo albums are great things. After becoming well-acquainted with the parent band, fans will peruse online catalogs (like this one) for solo albums. Solo albums are so good because they give the fans a different take on what that individual musician takes from not only his band's music, but from other compositions the musician made as an individual. All of the above that I have mentioned is MORE than true for Tony Levin. He is an amazing bassist, and is on par with DT's own John Myung. So if the album is so great why give it one star? It's what the album represents that causes it to get that rating. First of all, Magna Carta did not record/mix this with Tony's permission. Second, Tony Levin did not even get paid for this album. Unfortunately, 3 of the 4 members of LTE were ripped off this way. Many other artists were ripped off by Magna Carta, such as Terry Bozzio and Billy Sheenan. In short, Magna Carta wanted to make a quick buck and they did it in the slimiest and most detestable manner possible. Real fans of Tony should have all of his recordings anyway, in some way or another. So for Tony, please don't buy this album.


Born: June 6, 1946 in Boston, MA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Famed for his work with Peter Gabriel and King Crimson, bass virtuoso Tony Levin was born in Boston on June 6, 1946. At age ten, he began studying upright bass, also playing tuba in his high-school marching band and even forming his own barbershop quartet; as a member of a local youth orchestra, Levin additionally performed at the White House for President John F. Kennedy. After attending the Eastman School of Music, he appeared with the Rochester Philharmonic, but over time turned away from classical...
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Prime Cuts: Tony Levin, Tony Levin
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