Chuck Leavell, A Pianist
Some musicians are so low profile that you hardly ever realize their influence. They rarely hog the limelight and, in fact are most often overshadowed by their band mates who are more famous.
Who is Chuck Leavell?
Do you really know Chuck Leavell ? Even if someone told us that Leavell, 59, is an American pianist and keyboardist who has played with the likes of Eric Clapton, The Rolling Stones and The Allman Brothers, We'd probably go, " oh, yet another sessions musician, there are so many," But if i were to tell you that Chuck Leavell is actually a part of the Rolling Stones and has been touring with the band for years, would that makes him any more familiar?
Probably No, Leavell joined the stones in the early 1980's after a stint with Allman brother as a touring member and a second keyboardist to the main man, Ian Stewart. After Stewart died, Leavell became the primary guy who tweaks the keyboards when the stones go on tour and ,indeed, he is also been credited with the being the band's musical director, planning and drawing up, the nightly playlists for the famous and's gigs. On leavell's website, Stone's guitarist Keith Richards is quotes as saying ,"Without the continuity that chuck brings to us, the stones would not be the Stones."
Yet,it's not the stuff that leavell plays with the stones that makes him a great musician. It's the othe stuff that he does that makes him one of the most influential musicians of his times. That 2003 show, which has many of the frenetically touring band's famous tunes (Climb to Safety, Arleen,Space Wrangler, Mercy, Berstools and Dreamers...) is excellent and a lot of credit for that goes to two guests that panic decided to invite to the party - besides Leavell on the keyboard, there is Derek Trucks, the guitar genius.
Leavell has four albums, including a solo piano work from 2001 called Forever Blue. Strangely, you may discover that you always had him in your record or CD collection but you probably never realised that. The Black Crowes 1990 gem, Shake Your Money Maker, well the chap playing the piano on it is none other than Leavell. Look through your collection and you'll find Leavell. Got Clapton's 1992 album, Unplugged? Heard the piano? Yes it's Leavell. He's on many more albums by other bands. The Allman Brother's Brothers and Sisters, Govt's Mule's Live With a Little Help From Our Friends and so on. And if you don't have any of these, you'll surely heard him on Voodoo Lounge, Stripped, No Security, Live Licks, A Bigger Band. Yes you guessed right, they are all Rolling Stones albums.