Stan Kenton

'Whiplash' has ties to Towson University

'Whiplash' has ties to Towson University

Baltimore has a rooting interest in this year's Oscar race. "Whiplash," which has been nominated in five Academy Award categories, including best picture, has a direct connection to Charm City, and especially to its jazz community and to Towson University.

The movie's title song, which figures prominently in the story set in a rigorous music conservatory, was penned by a Baltimore-born jazz great, the late Hank Levy.

Levy, who died in 2001 at age 73, directed Towson University's jazz studies program and founded its jazz orchestra, which is currently led by Jim McFalls.

Levy was best known in wider jazz circles as a composer for big bands led by Stan Kenton...