Nathan East was born 8 December 1955 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His family moved to San Diego, California when he was four. Nathan’s musical education began in seventh grade when he began studying cello. At 14, he switched to bass. In high school, he was part of his school’s jazz ensemble, marching band, choir, chorus and pep band. He also played in local Top 40-style bands. He graduated from the University of California / San Diego with a degree in music and began work on a master’s degree.
Nathan’s breakthrough happened when he was with the band, Power. They were hired as the house band for a Stax revue where they came to the attention of Barry White. White hired the entire band for a national tour. Still a teenager, Nathan was part of White’s Love Unlimited Orchestra. White continued to use Nathan on recording sessions in Los Angeles. By the early 80s, his sight-reading and diverse musical abilities helped grow his reputation and he established himself as one of the most in-demand session players on the West Coast. Nathan has worked with artists as diverse as Anita Baker, Elton John, Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Phil Collins, Quincy Jones, Al Jarreau, Lionel Ritchie, Roxy Music, Savage Garden, Madonna, The Bee Gees, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dione, Sergio Mendes, Andrea Bocelli, Josh Groban and Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, to name a few.
In addition to touring with Phil Collins and Kenny Loggins (with whom he appeared with at Live Aid in 1985), Nathan was an integral part of Eric Clapton’s band for over 20 years. He carries the distinction of being in Eric’s band longer than any other musician.
Nathan first worked with Eric in the studio in 1984. In 1986, he joined Eric’s touring band and has served as Eric’s Musical Director on several tours. He was on hiatus during the recording of From The Cradle and the blues tours of 1994/1995 and continued to tour with Eric through the 2004 World Tour. Most recently, he played on sessions for Eric’s and J.J. Cale’s 2006 CD, The Road To Escondido.
His association with Eric Clapton’s touring band ended at the end of the 2004 World Tour. Nathan kept busy performing with Fourplay, Herbie Hancock and Andrea Bocelli. He was part of Daft Punk's Random Access Memories band playing on their hit song "Get Lucky" and their 2013 album, Random Access Memories. Get Lucky won the Grammy for Record of The Year in February 2014. Nathan has re-joined EC's band for the February / March 2014 Tour.
Nathan is a founding member of the contemporary jazz ensemble, Fourplay, along with Bob James (piano), Larry Carlton (who replaced Lee Ritenour on guitar) and Harvey Mason (drums). Their music is a mainstay on jazz radio stations around the world. The band has released numerous award-winning albums since 1990. Their first album, Fourplay (1991), sold over one million copies. Fourplay tours regularly and often appears at jazz festivals worldwide. Between the third and fourth CDs, Lee Ritenour departed the band to head his own record label. Larry Carlton joined the band in 1997. The band's current lineup is Nathan East, Bob James, Harvey Mason and Chuck Loeb (guitar).
Nathan has written numerous songs, including the number one, “Easy Lover” with Phil Collins and Philip Bailey. Over the years, Nathan wrote several songs with Eric, including “Take A Chance” (from August). He has won an ASCAP Award for songwriting, an Ivor Novello Award, and four years in a row the NARAS “Most Valuable Player” Award as a bassist. With Yamaha, he developed his own Signature Series bass, the BBNE-2 and has endorsed their products since 1981.
In 2007, Nathan was presented with a Congressional Record (U.S.) for his contributions to American music. Fourplay was also honored. In January 2009 Nathan part of the band at the concert celebrating the inauguration of President Obama.
His long-awaited solo album, Nathan East, will be released on March 25, 2014. It's first single - Daft Funk - was released to radio in late January 2014.
Nathan can be heard on the following Eric Clapton recordings: Behind The Sun, August, Crossroads, Journeyman, Rush, Unplugged, 24 Nights, Pilgrim, Riding With The King, Reptile, One More Car, One More Rider, Me and Mr. Johnson, Back Home and The Road To Escondido. He is also featured on all of the DVDs that have been released from those years.