Sea Level is the name of a fusion group that mixed jazz, blues and rock. It existed between 1976 and 1981. Initially, it was an offshoot of The Allman Brothers Band, but as tensions grew between the loss of two of it's founding members, and personal greivances between Gregg Allman and other bandmates and associates, Sea Level took on a life of it's own as an independent band.
After the initial destruction of the Allman Brothers Band, the refugees who evolved into Sea Level were the trio "We Three"; comprised of bassist Lamar Williams, drummer Jaimoe and Chuck Leavell (piano, keyboards, vocals), all then-members of the Allman Brothers, the trio would occasionally open shows for the group in 1975 and 1976. With the Allmans' first disbanding in 1976, the trio added guitarist Jimmy Nalls and named the band based on a phoenetic pun of their new bandleader's name: "C. Leavell". They toured relentlessly, experimenting on and refining their sound, eventually signing with Capricorn Records (home of the Allman Brothers) and recording their self-titled debut album in 1977.
After the release of their first album, the group expanded to a septet with the additions of Davis Causey (guitar), George Weaver (percussion) and Randall Bramblett (saxophones, keyboards and vocals). That configuration recorded the group's second album, Cats on the Coast, in 1978 (which produced a moderate "hit" with "That's Your Secret"). By the time of the third album, On the Edge, Jaimoe and Weaver had both left, replaced by Joe English. The sextet of Bramblett, Causey, English, Leavell, Nalls and Williams recorded the fourth album, Long Walk on a Short Pier (1979), unreleased in the United States for nearly twenty years, adding percussionist Matt Greeley for their fifth and final album, Ball Room, issued on Arista in 1980. Their greatest hits album (CD) wrapped up their body of work, minus a handful of appearances on various compilation albums (mostly Southern Rock).
Leavell later emerged as a sought-after session musician and producer, eventually becoming a "permanent" session player touring with the Rolling Stones. Considered to have the "wrong image" as the Rolling Stones, while touring, he would most frequently be seated at keyboards, out of the main view of fans, and as a result, became dubbed "the sixth Rolling Stone".
In 1998, he issued his debut solo LP What's in That Bag? and more recently, released Forever Blue (which includes "solo" versions of two classic Sea Level compositions, "Whole Lotta Colada" and "Song for Amy", and Southscape, an album of Southern anthems that hearkens back to his Southern roots.
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