Bonnie Koloc and Howard Levy have played together since the late 1970s, when Levy was Koloc’s pianist. Levy later became her bandleader and produced three of her albums. He also co-composed the music for Koloc’s 1997 one-woman play “Tales from Trashmania.”
Koloc is a folk singer from Waterloo, Iowa, who made a deep impression on Chicago’s folk scene of the early ‘70s. It was an era when singer-songwriters John Prine and the late Steve Goodman were beginning to be heard at legendary clubs The Earl of Old Town and Somebody Else’s Troubles. In 1973, Koloc appeared on the WTTW music series “Made in Chicago,” a precursor to “Soundstage.”
Koloc is known for her warm and jazzy vocals, and one of her signature songs is “Jazzman,” written by Ed Holstein – a folk icon who still teaches at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Others favorites include “Roll Me On the Water,” “You’re Gonna Love Yourself in the Morning,” and a cover of the Prine classic, “Angel From Montgomery.”
Koloc released her first recording “After All This Time” in 1971 on Ovation and by the end of the decade had recorded a pair of albums for Epic. She has also acted on stage and creates visual art. Her most recent recording is 2017’s “Seems Like Yesterday.” She lives in Iowa with her husband Robert Wolf, a writer and one-time music critic for the Chicago Tribune.
Levy is a Grammy Award-winning multi-instrumentalist from Brooklyn, New York, who also emerged in Chicago in the 1970s. He studied music at Northwestern University and won Grammy Awards for his work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. His other bands include Acoustic Express and Trio Globo. Known as one of the world’s finest and most innovative harmonica players, Levy is also a gifted keyboardist.
On Aug. 8, Koloc, Levy and their bands reunite onstage at Ravinia’s Martin Theatre. You can get more information about that show here.
Video: Howard Levy performs Django Reinhardt’s “Nuages.”