Legendary bassist Nathan East graces Docutah with film, performance

ST. GEORGE — Legendary bassist, musician and producer Nathan East has a career that has spanned over 30 years. But despite his wealth of experience, it wasn’t until 2014 that East debuted his first solo album, the self-titled “Nathan East.” And on Friday, a documentary film entitled “Nathan East: For the Record” will be screening at Dixie State University Eccles Fine Arts Center as part of the Docutah International Documentary Film Festival.

“Nathan East: For the Record” chronicles East’s life and career and goes behind-the-scenes of the making of his solo album, bringing to the forefront the man behind the bass.

Besides his self-titled album, East has over 2,000 album credits to his name and is widely considered one of the most recorded bass players in the history of music.

Throughout his career East has worked with some of the biggest names in the music industry, including Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Lionel Richie, Herbie Hancock, Andrea Bocelli, Daft Punk and many more. East is also a founding member of the jazz quartet, Fourplay.

In addition to screening his film, East will be performing his rendition of “America the Beautiful” with the Dixie State University Orchestra and Choir at the Docutah Award Ceremony Saturday at 7 p.m., marking the first time East has played the piece live with a full orchestra.

St. George News caught up with East at Docutah to talk about his film, his music and more.

On his career

“I’ve had a blessed charmed life and career. I have been touring and jumping around the world with … a lot of people that I grew up listening to,” East said.

In addition to those listed above, East has recorded albums and toured with artists such as Barry White; Earth, Wind and Fire; Barbara Streisand; Don Was and hundreds more, many of whom he counts among his friends.

But East remains humble and grateful for each opportunity he has had.

“I don’t want it to sound like a name drop,” East said, “but these are all people that I admired from afar, and now they are my friends. I just get to play and hang with some of the greatest musicians.”

“For the Record” on the record

“The film ‘For the Record’ is a film primarily about the recording of my last album – or my first solo album – and my life in general,” East said.

The documentary, which was produced by Yamaha Entertainment Group, delves into East’s impressive career and follows him into the studio as he recorded his solo album. The film also looks in on his family life.

“For the Record” contains interviews with many of the musicians East has worked with over the past three decades that give insight into the kind of musician and person East is.

“They went around and asked a lot of my friends to say something about me,” East said. “It’s hard for me to watch because they are ‘oh what a great guy’ too many Valentines in there but it is fun.”

Watch the trailer for the film here.

On going solo

East said:

After thousands of albums I finally did one of my own where instead of (my) name being on the back of the record it was on the front. I had a great time. And again, a lot of my friends came and joined me Stevie Wonder, Mike McDonald, Eric Clapton, Sara Bareilles my son Noah who was 13 at the time played on one the songs so it was the thrill of a lifetime. And we’re in doing number two right now.

East described the self-titled solo album as “just good music.” It features a combination of covers of some of his favorite songs, as well as original pieces.

On his performance of “America the Beautiful”

Saturday will be the first time East has performed his rendition of “America the Beautiful” live. It was originally recorded with a full orchestra, and he said he hasn’t had the chance to duplicate the sound on a live stage.

East will be joined by the Dixie State Orchestra and Choir during the Docutah Award Ceremony to perform the piece.

“I’m really looking forward to playing it for the first time live, like a world premier of ‘America the Beautiful,'” East said.

At a time when East feels that the country could use a little more unity, he said this piece represents good music and our patriotism.

“Now I just want to highlight and pay reverence to all the good things about what this country is about,” East said.

East is impressed with St. George, he said, particularly the scenery, and he plans to come back again for a little rest and relaxation.

Event details

“Nathan East: For the Record”

  • What:
    • Screening of “Nathan East: For the Record”
    • Docutah Award Ceremony
  • When:
    • Screening: Friday, Sept. 9, 5:35 p.m.
    • Award ceremony: Saturday, Sept. 10, 7 p.m.
  • Where:
    • Screening: Black Box, Dixie State University Eccles Fine Arts Center, 225 S. 700 East, St. George
    • Award ceremony: Main Stage, Dixie State University Eccles Fine Arts Center, 225 S. 700 East, St. George
  • Cost:
    • Screening: All-day pass, $15; single movie ticket, $10
    • Award ceremony: Free
  • Purchase tickets to the screening: Online | Cox Auditorium Box Office, 375 S. 700 East, St. George | Eccles Fine Arts Center, 225 S. 700 East, St. George

Email: hreina@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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