This is the kind of Jazz that’s ‘for the people’, and stems from a confidence level that only musicians that know they are excellent can provide. The songs are melodious, structured, and full of the kind of patterns that appeal to anybody.
“Silver” is a predominantly an instrumental body of work with ten tracks. Each one is unique with a diverse approach and tells its own story. The tracks are perfectly crafted to communicate a complex sentiment that make you feel the emotion behind the composition. It is exciting for me to follow Nathan’s bass lines, but I find myself really enjoying the fine details the rest of the band provides as are plenty of opportunities for each of them to cut loose and show their stuff. I am thrilled about how well balanced this CD was engineered so you can hear each of the players clearly.
If you are already a Fourplay fan, you probably already have this CD. On the other hand, if you are just getting acquainted with Jazz this would be a great starting point. Start with Silver, then you can go back twenty-five years and see how this group has evolved into such a higher musical entity.
This CD is a must-have!
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We’ve talked with bassist Nathan East about his performances on many big hits, including “Easy Lover,” “Get Lucky,” “Change the World” and “Footloose.” Aside from his recording career, his tenure with artists like Eric Clapton and his esteem as one of the most in-demand session bass players has put him in many unique situations, including several performances at the White House.
His most recent appearances at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue resulted in a pair of specials for PBS: The Gospel Tradition aired earlier this year, and featured East backing up Shirley Caesar, Darlene Love, Michelle Williams, Lyle Lovett and Aretha Franklin, and ‘A Celebration of American Creativity,’ which airs this Friday and features East playing alongside Smokey Robinson, Usher, James Taylor, Queen Latifah and more.
We talked to East about the thrill of playing for the president, the time he played with a president, and the other heads of state who have heard him play.
AllMusic: How overwhelming is it to perform at the White House?
Nathan East: It’s pretty exciting. Everything it takes to get in there, too, you’re constantly pulling out your ID, then you have to go through one thing at the street, one thing outside the White House, another thing inside with metal detectors and screenings, and then once you’re in there, it’s pretty exciting.
Continue reading the interview at AllMusic.com
We’re happy to report that the celebrated jazz quartet, Fourplay, reached just that milestone this year and are celebrating the happy occasion with a new album called Silver.
The supergroup began its journey in 1990, when keyboardist Bob James asked drummer Harvey Mason, bassist Nathan East, and guitarist Lee Ritenour to collaborate with him on the recording of his album Grand Piano Canyon. They released their self-titled debut in 1991. Since then, they’ve released more than ten albums, received a Grammy nomination and had several number one hits on Billboard‘s contemporary jazz chart.
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It’s hard to come up with a more evocative sound than a Fourplay song – the flowing funk undertones of drummer Harvey Mason and bassist Nathan East, and the wonderful keyboard work of Bob James support the memorable themes they have created for over 25 years. Their newest guitarist Chuck Loeb is joined by Fourplay alumni and Jazz guitar icons Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenour on Silver, the newest album from this seminal group.
Composer, producer and keyboardist Bob James is well known for writing such evocative themes as “Angela”, a song so singular that it can serve as the theme of a sitcom as well as the backing track to the newest Cee Lo song. The Fourplay member/founder sat down with us in this edition of Deezer Five Questions:
When discussing straight-ahead jazz, Miles Davis’ quintet (1965-1968) of Ron Carter, Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter and Tony Williams comes to mind. If West Coast cool jazz becomes a matter of discourse, let’s talk Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond. Fast-forward to the 1970s, when smooth jazz sailed over the airways into bars and music halls, then we are talking about the pianist, arranger and composer Bob James.
In 1990, having already earned recognition as a marquee headliner and producer James joined forces with an elite group of musicians to form Fourplay, the only smooth jazz group worth discussing. Fourplay is a stellar group of musicians who became household names within the smooth jazz arena while playing in a variety of genre configurations. They are: the drummer Harvey Mason (Herbie Hancock, Barbra Streisand and Notorious BIG), the bassist-vocalist Nathan East (Barry White, Eric Clapton, Toto and Phil Collins) and guitarist Chuck Loeb for the last five years (Hubert Laws, Chico Hamilton, Stan Getz and Joe Farrell) following guitarist Lee Ritenour’s exit in the mid-1990s.
James is best known for his classics “Westchester Lady” (off the album “Three,” CBS Records) and “Angela,” the 1978 theme from the TV sitcom “Taxi.” Individually they are vibrant musicians who have influenced generations of young artists. Together as Fourplay they have turned the genre of smooth jazz into their own kettle of home-brewed gumbo whose spiced ingredients include pop, funk and jazz.
Their recent 25th anniversary celebration at the West Village’s Blue Note jazz club was an intensified fusion of improvisation. Such a term is rarely used to describe a smooth or contemporary jazz group, but these aren’t your regular type of smooth cats, this is Fourplay, the leaders of the pack.
Talking about Fourplay’s silver anniversary from the stage of New York’s Blue Note Jazz Club on Dec. 1, the formidable bassist Nathan East related his wife’s reaction to the group’s milestone. “I don’t know—25 years of Fourplay? Isn’t it time to get down to … ?” East didn’t need to finish the sentence for the capacity crowd to start giggling.
The slightly risqué name, however, has always had more to do with the playful nature of the all-star instrumental jazz/pop quartet (Bob James on keyboards, East on bass, Chuck Loeb on guitar and Harvey Mason on drums), which delights in tossing melodic and rhythmic ideas around the bandstand like the Harlem Globetrotters moving up the basketball court. That kind of synergy only gets better with age.
As longtime fans of the Jazz supergroup Fourplay, we had the ultimate pleasure of attending the first show of their 6-night gig at the acclaimed Jazz club, the Blue Note New York located in the heart of Greenwich Village on December 1, 2015. Although we were well familiar with their style and talent seeing and hearing this multi-talented band perform live made for a remarkable evening that will go down as one to remember in our musical memory banks.