CoM&L Season 2 - Nathan East
Listing musicians with whom bass guitarist Nathan East has never played during his six decades or so on Earth might be easier than the alternative. In 1981 alone he recorded with Gladys Knight, the Four Tops, Billy Preston, Bobbie Womack, Stanley Turrentine, Earl Klugh, Phyllis Hyman, and Barry White, among many others. As East’s own website recounts, the bassist got his start a decade earlier, when he toured with Barry White. Most recently East’s famous affiliations include former Beatle Ringo Starr, fusion jazz maestro Jeff Lorber, and … Spider-man! East is among the performers of the Michael Giacchino score for Homecoming, the latest big-screen outing of everyone’s favorite web-slinger.
A native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, East entered the world on December 8, 1955. His parents, Gwendolyn Harrell East and Thomas East, reared him alongside six other children. Young Nathan East played cello before he discovered bass guitar at age 14. His bio page on yamaha.com, in part catalogs his high-school musical activities as “jazz ensemble, marching band, choir, chorus, [and] pep band ….” By age 16 he was hitting the road professionally, as described above.
East earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in music performance from the University of California San Diego in 1978. Over time he earned the instrument that every professional musician craves: an endlessly ringing phone. Bass Musician Magazine reckons him to be among the most recorded in-studio session bassists ever. He has played with Michael Jackson, Paul McCartney, and Beyoncé. East co-founded the jazz super group FourPlay, whose other members are Lee Ritenour, Harvey Mason, and Bob James. Headlining came relatively late to the bassist, and even then his 2014 “solo” debut, Nathan East, manages to be a bit of an all-star affair (featuring Stevie Wonder, Ray Parker Jr., and Michael McDonald), as well as a family affair (East’s son Noah plays piano). As East is quoted on yamaha.com, “the best music that I’ve made over the years has always been [in] collaboration with my friends, so I decided it was time to take the plunge.”
Ed Hall, G2 Media editorial director & author
Conversations on Music & Life
Conversations on Music & Life (CoM&L) is a weekly program which presents relaxed conversations with artists from the Jazz and R&B genres for digital audiences. Host and producer Marko Nobles invites the greats and soon-to-be greats to join him for an hour of music and conversation. The artist selects the music: music they were, and continue to be, influenced by. The conversation about the music leads to a discussion of a myriad of topics including social issues, business and politics. Most importantly, he allows them to share what they think is important to them and gives us the listeners a deeper insight into the artist and the person that they are.