Tommy Tangie – I Need music to be healthy and happy
Tommy Levecchia and his two sisters are from Marlton, New Jersey, 12 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He came from a musical family. His father Tom played saxophone and drums and his mother Patricia played the piano. He starting playing drums early in life.
At age 9, Tommy began playing the trumpet. His dad had suggested learning the trumpet because it was the opposite of the saxophone. He began in earnest in middle school, taking private lessons and continuing into high school, becoming more successful. He performed in the high school jazz band, concert band, and marching band.
Tommy’s father had a day job with a defense contractor but continued playing saxophone and drums on the side. He is a big fan of Buddy Rich, Maynard Ferguson, the Rat Pack, Count Basie and exposed Tommy to a lot of big band swing and jazz era music.
After graduating high school in 2001, Tommy was determined that his career would be playing music. He attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and was trained in all aspects of performing music, orchestral, and improvisation his teachers encouraged him to explore. He graduated in 2004 with a Bachelor Degree in Trumpet Performance. After college, he traveled with other musicians backpacking through Europe. In 2005, he got a job on a cruise ship sailing through the Caribbean and the South Pacific to over 30 ports of call.
At age 24, fearing a return to Philly, Tommy decided to move to Europe to the Czech Republic. He obtained a visa to teach English. For seven years, he taught and continued playing music on the side. He was able to travel and play throughout Europe, performing with bands in Belgium, France, and Italy.
In 2009, while Tommy was in Prague, he met Turner Harrison and his brother, who were playing in a band called Aphrodisiac. Harrison was starting a new group and offered Tommy some gigs. Harrison would leave and return to the Caribbean when it got cold in Prague.
Tommy’s visa was expiring and he was not making much money, so he returned to the Philadelphia area. He was playing music with a number of bands and also working at a legal weed shop. It was there that he found his stage name, Tangie, from the famous legal weed sold at the shop – making his father so very proud.
Turner Harrison invited him down to Key West in 2018 for vacation and some gigs. Tommy earned more money in Key West than he came with. He played more gigs in a week than he played in a month in Philadelphia. He found Key West was short of trumpet players. He met and was welcomed by a huge group of Key West local musicians, and they convinced him to stay.
A few weeks after arriving in Key West, he was invited to perform with Harrison at the Sunday Ramble. They performed a fantastic finale of “One Human Family”. In the process of rehearsals and sound checks, Tommy met and became friends with some of the best Key West musicians. Ericson Holt requested a photo of the finale with Turner and Tommy, to use promoting future Sunday Rambles.
He had been struggling making a living elsewhere as a full time musical artist and was amazed at his success in Key West. He credits Key West with making him a better musician. His new friends helped him find gigs, find a place to live, and made sure he succeeded.
During the normal busy schedule, Tommy had little time for practice. He took advantage of the COVID shutdown improving his craft with practice. He also wrote and recorded a new album, New in Town, which was produced with a friend. The trumpet tracks were all recorded in his apartment. In March 2022, the album was released at the Green Parrot Bar with a band of Philly friends called The Living Sample.
A cool gig was the Coast Is Clear concert in November 2021, which included Philly friends, G-Love & Chuck Treece. He was invited to perform, and it felt amazing as they rocked the house in front of a packed crowd.
Tommy Tangie performs often with Ross Brown and Turner Harrison. He also performs with Miles Mancuso and the Glass Cats almost every Sunday at General Horseplay.
You have to love music and love performing. Tommy has felt physically and mentally ill when he couldn’t perform for various reasons. He discovered he needs music to be healthy and happy. Tommy feels if you don’t love music like that, you can’t be a successful professional musician.
There are no comments yet, add one below.