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BassPlayer 2017-04

BassPlayer 2017-04

LINK FACE TECH PLAY

LINK FACE TECH PLAY LEARN BASS NOTES B BASSNOTES 14 bassplayer.com / april2017

Nathan East Second Thoughts BY CHRIS JISI | PHOTOGRAPH BY KHAREN HILL EVEN THOUGH NATHAN EAST DIDN’T rev up his solo career until 2014, with his Grammynominated self-titled debut, it seems like he has flashed solo-artist potential since cracking the session and touring scene in the early ’80s, with his melodic, vocally phrased bass lines and scat-andplay solos. Then, of course, there’s his 1991 “Easy Lover” collaboration with Phil Collins and Philip Bailey, and 25 years of writing, singing, and playing with Fourplay. In 2015 East released The New Cool, his upright-minded duet disc with Bob James—but now he’s back with his sophomore side, Reverence. Building on the strings-and-horn-infused R&B/jazz sound of his debut, the 12-track disc boasts Collins, Bailey, Verdine White, Eric Clapton, Chick Corea, Yolonda Adams, Ruben Studdard, Hubert Laws, and more. Offers a grateful Nate, “In an era when everyone is cutting budgets and using synthesized strings and horns, it’s nice when your label tells you to get the guest artists you want and encourages you to use real strings and horns to make the music as big as you envision.” How did Reverence come together and get its name? We had recorded 25 songs for my first album, so we knew we had some gems that would enable us to hit the ground running this time out. We used three of those tracks and cut nine more songs, and then it was time to start pondering a title. That came from thinking about all the greats we lost in 2016, like Maurice White, Prince, Toots Thielemans, Victor Bailey, Rod Temperton, David Bowie—it seemed relentless. So I thought, we’ve got to pay reverence to those who have gone before us and also appreciate those who are still here. Your opening instrumental cover of Earth, Wind & Fire’s “Love’s Holiday” sets the funky pace. I wanted to pay tribute to Maurice White, who was a friend and mentor, and this was a song I used to sing in my local band growing up. Here, I play the melody, but I thought it would be nice to bring the authentic EWF spirit to the track, and Philip Bailey was kind enough to come in and recreate his famous vocal ad libs at the end. Greg Phillinganes and I also worked in the nod to “Can’t Hide Love” in the outro. “Lifecycle” features extensive bass stretching over a well-developed composition. I wrote that with Tom Keane, whom I share a studio with. We also co-wrote the album’s big band track, “The Mood I’m In.” Tom is terrific; he works with David Foster and many others, and he cowrote Chaka Khan’s “Through the Fire” and Chicago’s “Will You Still Love Me.” I wanted a song that reflected where I’m at musically, including a section with Metheny-esque wordless vocals, which I love. The good news is it has become my first #1 single on the Smooth Jazz charts. When it came to bass solos on the record, I tried to approach them like they were songs within the song. I worked on creating memorable passages and phrases, almost like a written solo. As bassists, we don’t get as many blowing opportunities as guitarists, keyboardists, and horn players, so we have to make every note count. Chuck Loeb contributed “Sevenate” to your first album, and here he provides and plays on “Elevenate.” Chuck is a brilliant, clever, intuitive musician. He knew I had started the album, and the song showed up one day. I gave it a listen and went, Yup, that’s going on! Both Chuck and I love how Pat Metheny writes in odd and shifting meters, but it doesn’t occur to you at first because the melody is so strong. Teddy Campbell is the key here, because it’s the drummer who lets you play these kinds of songs without it sounding like you’re counting. What’s the story behind the star-studded “Serpentine Fire,” and how did Verdine White figure in? That was an arrangement my brother Marcel and I came up with in 1991, when we were attempting to start a band called Two Faces Of East. I was working with Phil Collins and Eric Clapton at the time, so we brought the song over to London, and they were kind enough to play on it, along with Phil’s Vine Street Horns. The band never got off the ground due to our schedules, and we kind of forgot about it until my engineer, Moogie Canazio—who had mixed it—pulled it up one day in the studio, EQUIP LISTEN i INFO Reverence [2017, Yamaha]; The New Cool [2015, Yamaha] Nathan East [2014, Yamaha], Eric Clapton, Slowhand at 70: Live [2015, Eagle Rock]; Fourplay, Silver [2015, Heads Up] Basses Two Yamaha Signature BBNE2 5-strings (tuned B–G and E–C); fretless Yamaha BB5000; Yamaha TRB6; Yamaha Silent Bass SLB200LTD w/French-style bow Strings Dunlop Stainless Steel and Nickel Medium-Gauge Super Brights (.030, .045, .065, .085, .105, .130) Rig TC Electronic Blacksmith head, two RS410 cabinets Effects TC Electronic Ditto Looper, Flashback Delay, Corona Chorus, PolyTune Mini; MXR M87 Bass Compressor Future Sonics Spectrum Series G10 in-ear monitors, Klotz cables Recording Reverence Radial Firefly Tube Direct Box direct to Pro Tools and two different miked signals from TC Electronic rig bassplayer.com / april2017 15

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