Most collectors of contemporary American music probably have at least one — and most likely more than one — record with Nathan East listed in the credits. A gifted and prolific musician, East is considered by his peers to be one of the most versatile and adaptive bass players in the world. This is proven by the fact that he also happens to be one of the most recorded bass players in history.
East has recorded on more than 2,000 albums, and with such big-name artists as Hubert Laws, Barry White, Eric Clapton, Wynona Judd, Ray Parker Jr., Michael Jackson, Kenny Loggins, Quincy Jones, Dianna Krall, Tower of Power, Joe Sample, Whitney Houston, Toto, Lionel Richie, Phil Collins, Herbie Hancock, Al Jarreau and even more. Just name any contemporary artist and Nathan East has probably appeared in concert or recorded with him or her.
After almost 40 years of performing as a band member in one group or another, Nathan East finally emerged in 2014 with a project to create his first solo album, appropriately entitled Nathan East, for which East served as primary artist, producer, arranger, (upright) bass player and composer. He also wrote orchestral arrangements and provided vocals for the album.
This record, which spent four weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Album chart, is a must-have in the collection of any contemporary jazz lover!
In true comraderie to a fellow artist who often provides invaluable support, many of the musicians with whom Nathan East has played joined him on this album. They include Michael McDonald, Sara Bareilles, Eric Clapton, Bob James, Chuck Loeb, Ray Parker Jr. and David Paich, just to name a few.
To get a behind-the-scenes look at Nathan East, his background and prolific career, and the making of his Grammy-nominated record, take a look at Nathan East: For The Record, a documentary film that’s being screened at film festivals all around the country, including the Macon Film Festival this weekend. It provides wonderful insight into the mind and methods of this musical genius. Here’s the trailer:
Check out the following video of Nathan East at 2013 Bass Player LIVE, where he talks about his practice routine and technique, playing for Daft Punk, and future projects.
Nathan East is a founding member of the jazz quartet Fourplay. Original members of the group were Bob James (keyboards), Lee Ritenour (guitars), Nathan East (bass) and Harvey Mason (drums). In 1997, Lee Ritenour left the group and Fourplay chose Larry Carlton as his replacement. In 2010, Larry Carlton left Fourplay and was replaced by Chuck Loeb, who currently performs and records with the quartet.
Here’s Fourplay at the 2000 Newport Jazz Festival:
And Fourplay performs live at the Blue Note Tokyo in 2014: