I was wondering who to cover today for Five For Friday, and one name kept coming to mind: bassist Nathan East. He’s probably worked with more acts than anyone, everyone from Barry White to Eric Clapton and more. He’s a permanent member of the smooth-jazz group Fourplay, and has even done some solo work. The following is merely a taste, a soupçon if you will, of the work he’s done.
- Love Unlimited Orchestra, "Love’s Theme": I was surprised to learn that East had worked with Barry White and the Love Unlimited Orchestra as early as 1971, because he’s only a couple of months older than I, making him no older than 16. Anyway, "Love’s Theme" was released in 1973 and reached #1 on the Hot 100 and Adult Contemporary chart in the US, #1 in Canada, an d #10 in the UK.
- Kenny Loggins, "Footloose": From Kenny’s 1985 appearance at Live Aid. You can see him on the right side of the stage here, having a great time.
- Eric Clapton, "Old Love": East was working with Eric Clapton at the time Slowhand did MTV Unplugged in 1986. Again, you can see him on the right side of the set playing the acoustic guitar bass. At another point in the concert, when they play Jesse Fuller’s "San Francisco Bay Blues," Nathan can also be heard on kazoo.
- Fourplay, "Between The Sheets": In addition to being a much-in-demand bassist, Nathan has some pretty serious vocal chops, as heard here. "Between The Sheets" was the title track from Fourplay’s second album from 1993. He’s joined on the lead vocal by the beautiful Chaka Khan, while Phillip Bailey and Phil Perry sing backup. The rest of Fourplay are Lee Ritenour on guitar, Bob James on keyboards, and Harvey Mason on drums.
- Lari Basilio, "Not Alone": Those of you who follow here probably know that Lari Basilio is one of my favorite contemporary guitarists. On her most recent album, 2019’s Far More, she’s backed by East, Greg Philinganes on keyboards, and Vinnie Colaiuta on drums.
Nathan East, your Five For Friday, January 22, 2021.