Gerald Levert, his brother, Sean and friend Marc Gordon were discussing a reunion of the R&B Group Levert in 2006 when Gerald died unexpectedly from consumption of an accidental but lethal prescription drug concoction.
Feeling even more compelled to provide Levert fans with new music, Gordon and Sean planned to press forward with new member, producer and singer/songwriter Blaq Rose.
Gordon told the South Florida Times during a recent telephone interview from Cleveland that the project was nearly complete when just over a year later, Sean Levert died while in jail for non-payment of child support. Sean’s death, which involved his being restrained in a chair after exhibiting what jailers called bizarre behavior, has been ruled accidental, also.
The project continued with participation from Gerald’s daughter and Sean’s son, as well as legendary R & B group The O’Jays, whose lead singer, Eddie Levert, is the father of Gerald and Sean.
Gordon, 44, said that recording the new CD, titled “Dedication,” was both difficult and therapeutic. The CD, from the newly reorganized group Levert II, is scheduled to be released in September.
“There were ups and downs. The ups were good times, but those downs were really like down,’’ Gordon said of losing both his friends. “I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It was bad enough initially, so when we get more than three quarters of the way done and then Sean passed, it was a double knock out.’’
The Levert brothers and Gordon formed Levert in the mid 1980s, eventually releasing eight albums and garnering top-10 status for “Casanova,” and “Pop, Pop, Pop Goes My Mind,” and “Just Coolin’.”
During the 1990s, Gerald never officially left the group, choosing to split his time between a promising solo career and continuing to record with Levert. The group’s last original CD, “Whole Scenario,” was released in 1997. Its greatest hits compilations were released in 2001 and 2004.
The “thirty something” Rose, who also participated in the recent telephone interview, said his connection to Levert goes back to at least 1994. He said that as a part of a now-defunct R & B group, he auditioned for Gerald, but nothing came of it.
“[Gerald] had groups already. He told us we were dope, though,” said Rose, who has written songs for R & B singers K-Ci and Jojo and Anthony Hamilton and pop singer, Christina Milian.
Rose said a mutual friendship and several chance meetings with Gordon eventually led to their formation as Levert II.
Both guys describe the new CD as R & B, hip-hop and soul.
“Each song has its own space…I like them all,” Gordon shared.
On recording with The O’Jays, Gordon said, “It was legendary. It was nice, they’re old pros. I had to direct them a little bit, but for the most part, they know how to give it that feel.”
When asked what he believes his late partners would think of the project, Gordon said Sean was pleased with what he heard.
“We were in the studio listening to it and he was just real excited. We had just finished the O’Jays joint. At the time, Gerald was up for a Grammy so [Sean] flew out to L.A. with his mom and they accepted the award,” Gordon said, adding, “He was excited.”
To listen to snippets of Dedication, visit www.reverbnation.com/levertII
Photo: Blaq Rose, left, and Marc Gordon, right.