Tony Levin at work on new Stick Men album, digital King Crimson photo book, possible project with Rick Wakeman

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Legendary bassist Tony Levin has a busy 2012 on tap, including a new album with the Stick Men, a re-release of a King Crimson-themed photo book for iPad and a possible collaboration with Yes’ Rick Wakeman and Deep Purple’s Ian Paice.

Levin, who has played with Crimson, Peter Gabriel, Pink Floyd and Paul Simon, among many others, writes on his long-running blog that the new CD is due for September release. Stick Men, a group featuring King Crimson drummer Pat Mastelotto and touch guitarist Markus Reuter, also could tour again with fellow Crimson bandmate Adrian Belew’s Power Trio this summer.

As for the new album, “this time it’ll be both a CD release and box set with lots of extras,” said Levin, who has been filming both the writing and recording of the project. “We’ll try to have a pre-release of the CD for live sales at shows before then.”

Wakeman, meanwhile, mentioned the possibility of a new collaboration with Levin and Paice on his Web site. Paice is the only founding member of Deep Purple to have appeared in all of its many incarnations over the years.

“There is so much other stuff in the pipeline that I will be trying to bring to fruition this month,” Wakeman said, “which include a possible trio album with Tony Levin and Ian Paice.” Wakeman, who’s just concluded his own series of dates with fellow former Yes member Jon Anderson, did not give specifics on the proposed collaboration with Levin and Paice. He said everything was still in the “early stages of discussions with all concerned, but looking very promising.”

Levin’s new version of the photo book ‘Crimson Chronicles’ for the digital format will include an expanded look at the band, with “other shots that didn’t make it to the original book,” Levin said. “So, that’s got me digging through my files for photos, itineraries, tour passes, and music I can use for that release.”

A Stick Men tour of the East Coast and Midwest for the spring is being booked now, he added.

Levin has played on literally countless sessions, from jazz (Buddy Rich, Herbie Mann) to rock (John Lennon, on the former Beatle’s final two studio releases, Double Fantasy and Milk and Honey in 1980-83.) He has also released a series of well-received recordings as a leader or co-leader, including the Bruford Levin Upper Extremities project and 2011’s Levin Torn White — which earned Something Else! Reviews’ album of the year honors.

Here’s a look at our recent thoughts on Tony Levin, King Crimson, and Rick Wakeman. Click through the titles for complete reviews …

SOMETHING ELSE! INTERVIEW: BASSIST TONY LEVIN The latest incarnation for Levin is as part of a fearless new trio album with guitarist David Torn and Yes drummer Alan White Part prog, part free-form improvisational music, part noise rock, Levin Torn White brings in each of their familiar textures and sounds, yet sounds somehow completely new. In another entertaining SER Sitdown, the busy bassist talks about the new Levin Torn White album, as well as a few landmark moments from his fascinating career.

JON ANDERSON AND RICK WAKEMAN: THE LIVING TREE IN CONCERT: PART ONE (2011): Anyone expecting the cosmic prog-rock journeys of this duo’s work as members of Yes must have been a little disappointed — and not just with the spare instrumentation. More striking than the lean, guitar-free musical structures was how intimate, even grounded this concert performance was. If anything, though, this album speaks to both the individual trials and the shared will to overcome for both singer Jon Anderson and keyboardist Rick Wakeman. Each has had to grapple against some terrifying health problems, even as Yes continued on without them.

KING CRIMSON – THE POWER TO BELIEVE (2003): Much of the efforts of the band, starting with 1981’s Discipline, have been on intricate, interlocking guitar pieces inspired by Gamelan music that Crimson’s Robert Fripp became fascinated with at the time. Instead of simply playing melodies, the guitarists were often building patterns around each other, weaving in and out of each other’s notes. The result, to the casual listener, is a lot of seemingly very repetitive music. To the attentive listener is revealed fascinating textures, almost the musical equivalent of fractal imagery.

ONE TRACK MIND: TONY LEVIN ON “BIG TIME,” “THRAK,” “LATE IN THE EVENING,” OTHERS: Find out more about the unique slap-bass sound he created in Gabriel’s hit song “Big Time.” Learn how an early-1980s gig alongside guitarist David Torn led to a fascinating new trio project with drummer Alan White. Make connections from across Levin’s career back to White’s band Yes, and see how separate moments as a sideman with Paul Simon underscore the bassist’s celebrated changeability.

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