In the midst of a pandemic, Lindsey Webster, alongside the rest of us, is adjusting to the new normal. She released her fifth album, “A Woman Like Me,” on March 27th. Since then, “A Woman Like Me” has debuted #1 on iTunes jazz, and this week, the album is #1 on the Billboard chart. The project is doing extremely well and is bringing joy and positivity to Webster’s fans. Lindsey collaborated with artists she’d never met yet had always admired. Nathan East adds a solo to the title track, and Vinnie Colaiuta and Luis Conte can be heard on other songs. Creating and recording with new energy was an enjoyable part of the making of this album. Webster grew up in Woodstock and has always been supported and given the freedom to be her true self; it’s evident when listening to all of her music–especially, on this album. She is at the apex of her career and unapologetic about the woman she has become. Lindsey is always striving to better herself and figure out her place in the world.
Listen to my conversation with Lindsey about her new album:
Throughout the illustrious career that Nathan East has had, he has remained one of the most sought after bassists in the industry. The beauty that lies within that enormous calling is that Nathan has worked with the best of the best. His career has evolved so that he gets to work with musicians that he once just admired. In honor of those who have inspired and continue to inspire him, his latest album is titled “REVERANCE.” The album was produced by Nathan and Chris Gero. Sharing the spotlight with Nathan are Philip Bailey on East’s cover of “Love’s Holiday” and Verdine White and Ralph Johnson on “Serpentine Fire.” “REVERANCE” also features Kirk Whalum, Yolanda Adams, Ruben Studdard, Chuck Loeb, Chick Corea, and Nikki Yanofsky. Nathan’s son Noah joins him once again and is featured on piano. Nathan will spend the remainder of 2017 on the road with Fourplay, Eric Clapton, and Chick Corea.
I always enjoy talking with Nathan. Listen:
Fourplay: a legendary group that needs no introduction, much like its iconic band members Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason, and Chuck Loeb. The rarity of a group sustaining longevity and success for twenty five years is virtually unheard of these days. Even more remarkable, each member is successful and has amazing careers individually. To celebrate the timeless essence of this group, Fourplay will release “Silver” on November 20th, 2015. “Silver” is a collection of all original songs quite apropos by representing silver in some manner. Former members of the group Larry Carlton and Lee Ritenhour were asked to join the project for this monumental recording. Additionally, long time friend of the group Kirk Whalum lent his one-of-a-kind sound to “Silver.” Bob, Nathan, Chuck, and Harvey share an undeniable cohesive bond and share language that illuminates with every note they play.
I spoke with guitarist Chuck Loeb about the groups’ “Silver” anniversary:
Cool: precisely the way I describe the new album from Bob James and Nathan East titled “The New Cool.” The new album will be released on September 18, 2015. James and East step into duo mode with pure ease; that is to be expected since the two have been friends and musical collaborators for over 25 years. Individually and collectively as part of the legendary group, Fourplay, Bob James and Nathan East have been making music for a very long time. It was the obvious next step for the two of them to embark upon a journey together doing what they do best. As friends and collaborators, the ease of which the two fused their talents with just a piano and upright bass was masterful. That camaraderie and spirit shines forth in every note of every song on “The New Cool.” It is comprised of an array of original songs and a few covers of some good old favorites, like Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” on which Vince Gill delivered stellar vocals. East describes the project as an opportunity to step outside their comfort zone and present the music as pure and unplugged as possible–no filters, no barriers, and no rhythm section to hide behind. The result is a recording like none other you’ve heard from either of them as well as a beautiful representation of two legendary artists and their friendship.
Nathan and I have a wonderful conversation about “The New Cool”:
Masterfully “Cool”: An album unlike any other by
Bob James and Nathan East
“The New Cool,” an expansive acoustic offering centered on scholarly jazz piano and bass duets, will be released September 18, a first from the GRAMMY®-honored artists and long-time collaborators.
Nashville, Tennessee (7 July 2015): Albums just aren’t made like the way “The New Cool” was made. Yamaha Entertainment Group label president Chris Gero put legendary keyboardist Bob James and master bassist Nathan East in the recording studio, equipped them with state-of-the-art Yamaha gear and gave them free reign to create. Recorded entirely in Nashville, the long-time collaborators emerged with an unexpected and audacious collection of original compositions plus a few handpicked classics, an acoustic jazz outing that will make you forget everything you thought you knew about these GRAMMY®-recognized artists best known as contemporary jazz luminaries. The disc produced by Gero, James and East will be released September 18.
“The New Cool” unfolds much in the way the meticulously-crafted project was conceived. The germ begins organically with a couple of intimate James and East duets. Pastoral piano wanderings explore the outer perimeter of straight-ahead jazz where they peruse, mirror and engage with meandering bass lines. In fact, more than half of the record’s compositions written by James and/or East are sparsely-produced, probing piano and bass sojourns. As the seed sprouts, dramatic orchestral accoutrements added by the Nashville Recording Orchestra illuminate the piano, keyboard and bass explorations, contributing hues that are warmly rustic and autumnal or whimsically vibrant. James challenges with deftly inventive arrangements on complex pieces like “All Will Be Revealed” while East counts off supple rhythms that are astutely measured and metered. Fluid melodies and harmonies ranging from subtle, serene and meditative to lush, exquisite and cascading blossom throughout, whether emoted by a dexterous piano, keyboard or bass or East’s celestial vocalese. An imaginatively-arranged version of Willie Nelson’s “Crazy” bops and swings in sublimely surprising style before the ultimate surprise is revealed: a serendipitous vocal from Vince Gill. The proceedings flourish in a gust of breezy Brazilian jazz when percussionist Rafael Padilla and drummer Scott Williamson appear on “Canto Y La Danza” and climax in a crashing crescendo on the explosive and intricately orchestrated “Turbulence.”
“‘The New Cool’ project carries with it a special level of excitement for me as Bob and I have been courting the idea of this duo adventure for many years,” said East, who released his self-titled, GRAMMY® nominated solo debut album last year via Yamaha Entertainment Group on the heels of playing on Daft Punk’s 2014 GRAMMY®-winning Record of the Year “Get Lucky.” “I’ve always loved the sound of the piano and bass together, and have enjoyed duo recordings by the greats: Bill Evans & Eddie Gomez and Keith Jarrett & Charlie Haden. ‘The New Cool’ is our celebration of more than 25 years of friendship and musical camaraderie. This collaboration was embraced by Yamaha Entertainment Group and producer Chris Gero, who took it yet to another level.”
“The more I played with Nathan over the course of many live performances and spanning more than 25 years, the more in sync we were whether or not we had the anchor of the drums,” said James, a two-time GRAMMY® winner considered one of the founding fathers of smooth/contemporary jazz and whose extensive catalogue is frequently sampled on hip hop tracks. “Something special happens when we only have each other’s notes to play off of, when the music is totally exposed.”
Although busy with touring and recording individually as well as together, including as half of the contemporary jazz supergroup Fourplay, James and East are committed and energized by “The New Cool,” which will be supported comprehensively in traditional and non-traditional ways harnessing the full power of Yamaha Entertainment Group. Nearly a dozen video vignettes that take viewers into the recording studio during the making of the album will soon begin to trickle out through the official website (www.TheNewCoolAlbum.com) as well as on the artists’ social media platforms and a full-scale documentary film will unspool in the fall shortly after the album’s street date. A grand-scale concert date is in the initial planning stages, which is expected to be streamed live and captured for television broadcast.
The songs that make-up “The New Cool” album are:
“The New Cool”
“All Will Be Revealed”
“Midnight Magic/Love Me As Though There Were No Tomorrow”
“Crazy” (featuring Vince Gill)
“How Deep Is The Ocean”
“Canto Y La Danza”
“Waltz For Judy”
“Ghost Of A Chance”
“House Of Blue” (U.S. bonus track)
For more information, please visit www.TheNewCoolAlbum.com.
If you’re a fan of the best musicians in the world, or if you’ve ever listened to any music, I assure you you’ve heard the sounds of Nathan East. He’s been making music for the last 40 years and has set a precedent that far supersedes most musicians’ careers. Nathan is driven by his passion for music and his family. Those forces have propelled him to the top of his craft. Additionally, he is a founding member of the renowned group, Fourplay whom he still performs with. All throughout his career, he’s been a sought-after collaborative force that has worked with the best in the industry in a variety of genres. At the behest of fellow musicians, East took a leap into the spotlight releasing his debut solo self-titled album, “Nathan East.” For his fans worldwide who love his music, he has delivered a collection of songs that will leave you longing for more. For this project, he joined forces with Bob James, Chuck Loeb, Michael McDonald, Sara Barielles, and his own son featured on the song “Yesterday.” Although this is Nathan’s solo album, he remains true to who he is as a seasoned musician and welcomes his collaborators to showcase their talents, as well.
Nathan tells me about his journey and how blessed he feels everyday.
Sitting in the studio with John Dillard, I realized the magnitude of his talent. He’s smart, creative, original, and constantly evolving. His peers revere him as “an asset”, and “one of the funkiest.” John is humbled by those accolades, and works hard to exceed what’s expected of him. Having been influenced by great artists like Jaco Pastorius, and Marcus Miller, John knows how to infuse multiple styles of playing into his own. He contributes to the local music scene in Charlotte, NC, and was fortunate enough to work on the 2012 pilot track for the Golden Globe Award Winning show Homeland. While collaborating with other artists on various projects, and being the musical director for Stephanie Mills, he’s also stepped into his own spotlight. John is working on his solo project “Let’s Ride” that is scheduled to be released later this year.
My live video interview with John.