Bobby “Lips” Levine was born in Washington, NJ in 1923. He studied reeds with Joe Allard in New York City. He attended Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA, but WWII intervened. Bobby joined the Army in 1942, where he served in the Army Air Corps Band.
After leaving the Army in 1946, Bobby toured and recorded with Billy Butterfield’s first big band. He appears on all of that band’s Capitol recordings from 1946-48. He also toured and recorded with Fred Waring’s Pennsylvanians (for four seasons) and with Hugo Winterhalter.
After this, Bob entered the retail clothing business and was active for 18 years in Washington, NJ. During this period, he had his own musical group and began an association with Parke Frankenfield which continued many years. Bob recorded four albums with Parke. In the 70′s, Bob toured with the Tommy Dorsey band under Sam Donahue and later Warren Covington, for whom he was featured soloist. Other credits include Jimmy Dorsey, Sammy Kaye, Vaughn Monroe, Art Mooney, Skitch Henderson, and Chris Griffin. He appeared at inaugural balls for Presidents Nixon, Carter, and Reagan as well as many jazz cruises, festivals, and concerts.
Bob started his association with Bob Crosby as a sideman 25 years ago. Later, he became Crosby’s contractor, putting together bands for him which toured Hawaii, Brazil, and throughout the US mainland. 10 years ago, Bob formed a big band in Easton, PA known as the Bob Crosby Orchestra, for which he served as Musical Director.
Unfortunately, we lost Bob on September 7, 1997. He is fondly remembered by the Jim Cullum Jazz Band members. “I know I speak for all the guys when I say that everything “Lips” played just sounded so right, and he blended in with our sound perfectly. I treasure those shows he recorded with us.” —Don Mopsick