Nathan East

Last updated

Nathan East
East in 2005
Background information
Birth nameNathan Harrell East
Born (1955-12-08) December 8, 1955 (age 65)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
  • Musician
  • songwriter
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • bass guitar
  • double bass
  • cello
Years active1971–present
Associated acts

Nathan Harrell East (born December 8, 1955) is an American jazz, R&B, and rock bass player and vocalist. With more than 2,000 recordings, East is considered one of the most recorded bass players in the history of music. [1] [2] East holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music from the University of California, San Diego (1978). He is a founding member of contemporary jazz quartet Fourplay and has recorded, performed, and co-written songs with performers such as Bobby Womack, [3] Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Joe Satriani, Peter Gabriel, George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, Toto, Kenny Loggins, Daft Punk, Chick Corea, and Herbie Hancock.



Early life

Nathan Harrell East was born on December 8, 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Thomas and Gwendolyn East. He is one of eight children (five boys and three girls) raised Catholic in San Diego, where the family moved when he was four. He is the younger brother of Msgr Ray East of St Teresa of Avila Church in DC.

East first studied cello from seventh through ninth grade and played in local Horace Mann junior high school's orchestra. At age fourteen he developed an interest in the bass guitar, playing in church with his brothers Raymond and David. He was active in his (Crawford) high school's music programs along with a local top 40 band called "Power". He has said his early influences included Charles Mingus, Ray Brown and Ron Carter on upright bass; and James Jamerson, Paul McCartney and Chuck Rainey on electric bass. He studied music at UC San Diego. Nathan East is also an accomplished amateur magician member of The Magic Castle and the Academy of Magical Arts.

Music career

East performing "Can't Find My Way Home" with Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden on May 3, 2015 Nathan East and Eric Clapton 03May2015.jpg
East performing "Can't Find My Way Home" with Eric Clapton at Madison Square Garden on May 3, 2015

East is a founding member of the contemporary jazz band Fourplay with Bob James (keyboards), Lee Ritenour on guitar (later replaced by Larry Carlton and Chuck Loeb) and Harvey Mason (drums).

He has worked with Bobby Womack (on the album The Poet ), [3] Babyface, Anita Baker, The Bee Gees, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Peter Gabriel, Gail Ann Dorsey, Bryan Ferry, Daft Punk, Herbie Hancock, George Harrison, Michael Jackson, Al Jarreau, Elton John, Quincy Jones, Earth, Wind & Fire, B.B. King, Kenny Loggins, The Love Unlimited Orchestra, The Manhattan Transfer, Ed O'Brien, Laura Pausini, Savage Garden, Sting, Barry White, and Stevie Wonder. He co-wrote the song "Easy Lover" for Phil Collins and Philip Bailey. In 2013, he recorded the bass line for the 2013 hit "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk, which won Grammy Awards for Record of the Year and Best Pop Duo/Group Performance (2014). Since the 1980s, East has been a member of Eric Clapton's studio and touring bands. East was invited to play at We Are One: The Obama Inaugural Celebration at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. in 2009.

In early 2010, he was invited to join American Grammy Award-winning rock band Toto on their reunion tour to benefit member Mike Porcaro, who had been diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. East later joined Toto for their 2011 and 2012 tours as well. He joined Eric Clapton's band for concerts in Japan, Singapore, Thailand, and Dubai in February and March 2014 and again for the Madison Square Garden and Royal Albert Hall concerts of May, 2015. [4]

East's debut self-titled solo album Nathan East was released on March 25, 2014. [5] [6] During recording, he was joined by several of his longtime associates, including Stevie Wonder, Michael McDonald, Eric Clapton, Ray Parker Jr., and Greg Phillinganes. [1]


Nathan East plays a Yamaha SLB200 Silent Upright Bass with Fourplay at Knight Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina, on June 8, 2014. Nathan East 08Jun2014.jpg
Nathan East plays a Yamaha SLB200 Silent Upright Bass with Fourplay at Knight Theater in Charlotte, North Carolina, on June 8, 2014.

With Yamaha, East developed a custom 5-string bass guitar signature model, the BBNE (modeled after his early 1980s BB5000 5-string bass). The second signature bass, the BBNE2, was released in 2001. A limited edition 30th Anniversary version (the BBNE2 LTD) was released in 2011. He has also used custom 6-string prototypes of his BBNE2 bass guitar between 2003 and 2005, along with his black 1980s LB-1 Motion 5-string bass and a pair of 6-string TRB6P models. Yamaha introduced the NE1 Parametric EQ Pedal, otherwise known as the "Magic Box" in the early 2000s. This pedal essentially gives the player the ability to use the "Nathan East EQ curve" on any bass they choose. East also plays a Yamaha SLB200 Silent Upright Bass. [7]

Awards and honors



2014 Nathan East Yamaha Entertainment Group
2015 The New Cool Yamaha Entertainment Group with Bob James [10]
2017 Reverence Yamaha Entertainment Group

With Fourplay

1991 Fourplay Warner Bros.
1993 Between the Sheets Warner Bros.
1995 Elixir Warner Bros.
1997 The Best of Fourplay Warner Bros. compilation album
1998 4 Warner Bros.
1999 Snowbound Warner Bros.
2000 Yes, Please! Warner Bros.
2002 Heartfelt Bluebird
2004 Journey Bluebird
2006 X Bluebird
2008 Energy Heads Up
2010 Let's Touch the Sky Heads Up
2012 Esprit de Four Heads Up
2015 Silver Heads Up

Live collaborations

1971 Barry White Band Member
1971 The Love Unlimited Orchestra Band Member
1979 Patrice Rushen Band Member
1980 Lee Ritenour Band Member
1981 Hubert Laws Band Member
1982 Joe Sample Band Member
1984 Al Jarreau Band Member
1985 Kenny Loggins Live AidBand Member
1986 Eric Clapton Band Member
1991 Fourplay Band Member
1994-1997 Phil Collins Band Member
2000 Babyface UnpluggedBand Member
2006 Herbie Hancock Band Member
2010-2014 Toto Band Member
2014 Daft Punk, Stevie Wonder, Nile Rodgers, Pharrell Williams Grammy Awards Performer
2014Nathan East
2015 Eric Clapton Band Member

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  1. 1 2 "After 1,500 records, Nathan East hits it big with debut". May 23, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  2. "Nathan East | Credits". AllMusic. December 8, 1955. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  3. 1 2
  4. "2015 Eric Clapton Tour and Set List Archive". Where's Eric! The Eric Clapton Fan Club Magazine. Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  5. "Yamaha Entertainment Group of America". Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  6. "Daft Punk Bassist Nathan East Readies Solo Debut". Billboard. March 25, 2014. Retrieved August 23, 2014.
  7. "Interview - Nathan East". Retrieved September 10, 2015.
  8. "Nathan East Honored By U.S. House of Representatives". Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  9. Archived July 7, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. Andy Kellman (September 18, 2015). "The New Cool - Bob James, Nathan East | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic . Retrieved January 18, 2017.