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Release date: 1.20.17
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Nathan East's New Album 'Reverence' Streaming on AllMusicRead More
Nathan East Releases Star-Studded Cover of "Serpentine Fire"Read More
Nathan East Announces New Album 'Reverence'Read More
When it comes to bass playing, Nathan East is no less than The Guy in popular music.
The resume of artists he's played for, co-written with or toured alongside is a Hall of Fame, who's who list that includes Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Sting, Toto, Barry White, Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand and scores of others. That's his muscular bass line propelling Daft Punk's Grammy award-winning smash "Get Lucky," and when time permits you'll find him laying down the bottom for the all-star jazz group Fourplay.
But East is his own man, too, and on REVERENCE, his second solo album set for release on January 20th via Yamaha Entertainment Group, he once again steps into the spotlight as bandleader, visionary and artist in his own right. The 12-song blend of originals and tasty, stylized covers is silky and sublime, tasteful but also inventive, each song a carefully crafted creation that could only be concocted by a musician with East's years of experience -- and experiences.
"It's almost like the same as the first time, but the second time feels better," East says of the follow-up to his self-titled debut from 2014. "It's kind of like a combination of a continuation, plus some new ideas. It's like climbing Mount Everest two times -- a lot of work, but again very proud to have something come out after 35 years of being on the backs of everyone else. It's exciting. You put it out and hope everybody gets as excited about it as you do."
There's plenty to enthuse about on REVERENCE, too. East shoots wide here, whether it's the airy smooth groove of Earth, Wind & Fire's "Love's Holiday" with Phillip Bailey on guest vocals or the slinky remake of EWF's "Serpentine Fire," with Bailey and other band members joined by Phil Collins and Eric Clapton. Chuck Loeb arranged his jazzy "Elevenate" especially for REVERENCE, while East elevates Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" with his delivery of the song's melody on his bass, amidst a brassy background featuring Kirk Whalum's saxophone. Yolanda Adams, meanwhile, soars on a solemn, orchestrated arrangement of Randy Newman's "Feels Like Home" and East's son Noah features on piano for a lush rendering of "Over The Rainbow."
"What I wanted to do is continue just making music I feel is representative of my heart," explains East, who co-produced REVERENCE with Chris Gero, Founder and Vice-President of Yamaha Entertainment Group, a full-service company that helps artists produce and release music, stage live shows and create fan experiences as well as producing films. "When I listen sometimes to the radio and I'm complaining about, 'Oh, I don't hear anything that's rocking my world,' I say, 'Well, you've got a responsibility to try to come up with something.' It's part of my DNA, and my record collection from the very beginning was just wide -- West Mongtgomery, Santana, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, Quincy Jones, Chicago, Blood Sweat & Tears, Earth, Wind & Fire, everybody in between. I was just all over the map, and those are the people that I still like to revere and honor when I make music today."
Those eclectic roots were honed as one of eight children raised in San Diego. Music was a staple in the East household, and he started out on cello before finding a foundation in bass via the likes of Paul McCartney, Motown Funk Brother James Jamerson, Tower of Power's Francis "Rocco" Prestia, EWF's Verdine White, Jaco Pastorious, Ray Brown, Ron Carter and many others. "I'd listen to the bass and just say, 'Man, that's what I want to do," East recalls. He quickly learned that while bass can lead the way -- he cites Wes Montgomery's "Reality" as a key influence -- its primary role was supporting the ensemble.
"I was just the guy in the band," East notes, "and they were saying, 'Come on, lock it down! Play bass! I respect those kind of records where Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten just let you know that, oh wow, they can stretch the boundaries of what music can do. That's the thing that's so exciting about music in general is you can come up with whatever your heart desires."
East has been locking it down since the early 1970s, as a member of Barry White's Love Unlimited Orchestra. His credits include long associations with Collins and (still) Clapton, backing Kenny Loggins at Live Aid and Babyface on his "Unplugged" performance, and a session list that fills more pages than some novels. East also co-wrote the chart-topping Collins-Bailey single "Easy Lover" (for which he received an Ivor Novello Award) and played at We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.
East is a three-time National Smooth Jazz Awards winner for Bassist of the Year and has also received honors from the International Rock Awards, ASCAP and the United States Congress, which placed him in the Congressional Record during 2007.
Clearly he has abundant laurels to rest on, but NATHAN EAST and now REVERENCE show that East has no interest in doing that.
"It's fun being the leader," East notes. "It comes with different circumstances and responsibilities, and I welcome it with open arms. I have a lot of experience, but it's a whole different thing when the buck starts and stops with you. It's kind of like, 'Hey, this is a new, fun gig.'"
The good news for East on REVERENCE is that he "over-recorded" while making the NATHAN EAST album, giving him a welcome head start for his sophomore outing. "We just went into this second one with a running start, which was great," East says. "We took a look at what we had, and that gave us some real guidance for what we needed to come up with to fill it out.
"But I'll tell ya, I literally got to the last song and felt like, 'This could be the starting point of another record right here,' which is crazy!"
East plans to log some miles on the road before he's back in the studio -- for himself, at least. His 2017 agenda includes playing with Clapton for limited dates in London, New York and Los Angeles, as well as joining Chick Corea for some Electrik Band shows. Some Fourplay concerts, and a possible new album, will likely surface during the year, and East is also looking for opportunities to take his own band out to showcase his own music.
"Now, with two albums under the belt, I have enough material to do a good, full-on show," he says. "I love everything I get to play, and I'm so fortunate to have had these kind of opportunities and experiences over the years. They're all exciting, and special. But getting to play my own music...Man, that's the ultimate. It really is."
- am New York
- Bass Musician Magazine
- Guitar World
- Modern Drummer
- NBC BLCK
- New York Times
- No Treble
- The San Diego Union-Tribune
- Soul of California
- Soul Tracks
- The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
- Ultimate Classic Rock
- 2 Chairs and a Microphone
- Billboard (Reverence)
- Fox 17 - Rock & Review
- In Tune Monthly
- Jazz Times (Endorsements Feature)
- Music Aficionado
- Performer Mag (December Cover Story)
- Performer Mag ("Prime Cuts" Playlist)
- Respect Mag
- ABC News
- All Music Guide- Story of "Get Lucky"
- All Music Guide- Story of "Footloose"
- Billboard (For The Record)
- Billboard (Solo Debut)
- Fast Company
- International Musician
- Jazz Times (Solo Debut)
- M Magazine
- New York Daily News
- Premier Guitar
- U-T San Diego
- USA Today "Web to Watch"
- USA Today
- Yahoo! Music
- Bloomberg (For The Record)
- Bloomberg (Video Interview)
- Fox 5 San Diego
- KCAL (For The Record)
- KCAL (Solo Debut)
- Tavis Smiley Radio
- Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon