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...

CoM&L Episode 6 - Nicole Henry Pennsylvania native Nicole Henry spent her early years studying ballet, practicing cello, and singing in church and elsewhere. In an interview with The Morning Call, Henry cites her mother as her motivator: “She encouraged us to express ourselves artistically, she encouraged us to play instruments in school. So I grew up singing in the choir at school, in the choir at church ….” Henry’s recording career began in the late 1990s and included work with the disco-inflected Westbrook Project. Jazz, she said in the same interview, entered the picture only after she graduated from the University of Miami in 2002. Her work that year, however, led the Miami New Times to honor her as “Best Solo Musician.” Further honors followed quickly. The Nearness of You, Henry’s debut album, caught the ears of listeners in Japan and netted her laurels there as “Best New Jazz Artist of 2004.” Her follow-up, Teach Me Tonight, won “Best Vocal Jazz Album of 2005” from HMV Japan. By 2008, she was making an impression at home with her album The Very Thought of You, which reached single digits on the Billboard jazz chart. In late 2013 Henry performed for a month of Sundays at New York’s storied Blue Note jazz club. During that residency she sang, among other things, a range of 1970s tunes—including Bill Withers’ classic “Use Me” and James Taylor’s “Fire and Rain”—that she’d recorded for her sixth album, So Good, So Right. With her torrid vocals, affinity for the dance decade (she also sang dance songs during her college years), and her international appeal, Henry...

CoM&L Episode 1- Navasha Daya Join Host Marko Nobles and featured artist Navasha Daya this Saturday morning, 11a est. Perhaps best known as the lead singer of the nu-jazz ensemble Fertile Ground, Navasha Daya has been making music all her own for half a decade. She was a founding member of that (initially three-member) group in the late 1990s, and Daya distinguished herself with vocals ranging from supple and angular (“Let the Wind Blow”) to sultry and assured (“Take Me Higher”). With its 2004 recording Black Is, Fertile Ground found, well, fertile ground, and the band toured for years in support of that project. Things changed by 2009, and the group’s members embarked upon their own paths in 2010. Daya released an EP titled Rebirthed Above Ground (2012). In an interview with The Baltimore Sun she called the move to a solo career “scary,” despite having made her debut as a professional singer at age 13 with her father’s Cleveland-based reggae band, Jah Word. “I had to figure out how I wanted to show up in the world,” she told The Sun. Daya recorded four albums with Fertile Ground, so still having ahead of her a full-length and freestanding solo project could give her the appearance of a neophyte. Consider the following list of her other guises, though, and a different picture comes into focus: songwriter, producer, performing arts curator, certified holistic wellness practitioner. Her devotion to the simple art of human kindness shines through songs including “Iwapele.” With her husband, Fanon Hill, she operates the Youth Resiliency Institute, through which she teaches music to youngsters in places including...

CoM&L Episode 4 - Will Downing Almost 30 years into his career, Will Downing keeps on earning his “Prince of Sophisticated Soul” sobriquet. With last summer’s “Black Pearls,” he put his own polish on songs previously recorded by legends including Chaka Khan, Angela Winbush, and Phyllis Hyman. That project had its roots in a conversation about Downing covering Hyman’s “Meet Me on the Moon.” Once he did, he saw an opportunity to honor some of his soul-music sheroes. Of course, this silken baritone and veteran composer is also an original in his own right. Among his songwriting credits are the anthem “I’ll Wait” and the lilting “Something Special.” Clearly, that last title also describes Downing himself. Edward Austin Hall Author 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...

First Friday’s Featured Artist – Donald Byrd

  FAS proudly presents its First Friday’s Featured Artist, Donald Byrd. Tracks from this Jazz icon are featured in today’s playlist. If you’re a fan of Donald Byrd and his Jazz/R&B group, the Black Byrds, click in and turn up the...