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TSJR’s Featured Smooth Jazz Artist

A profile of our selected smooth jazz artist of the month

Because we appreciate the talents and hard work of all of the many artists in our beloved smooth jazz genre, TSJR has made it a standard practice to highlight and honor one artist each month who has established himself or herself as an integral part of the smooth/contemporary jazz “engine.”

This month, we honor:

Nate White — Thundering Along the Right Groove Path

A masterful force in contemporary jazz today is a name perhaps not on the lips of many c-Jazz lovers. With a powerful, thunderous presence that anyone hearing him cannot deny, bassist Nate White has clearly earned the right to be placed on the who’s who list of bassists who “move the needle” in c-jazz in a seismic way with creativity and thick doses of groove and confidence.

White started playing bass at age 16. He went on to work with John Manuel, the former music director for the famed R&B Motown group The Spinners.

In 1975, White and Manuel formed a Soul/Jazz group called Saturday Night Special. After being discovered by legendary jazz vibist Roy Ayers in late 1976, Saturday Night Special became the soul/jazz band RAMP — the acronym for Roy Ayers Music Productions. Ayers was not a member, though he did write and produce songs on their one album Come Into Knowledge (1977), subsequently considered a classic among rare-groove collectors, artists, and Roy Ayers fans. Featuring the vocals of Sharon Matthews Salter and Sibel Thrasher, the group was a vehicle for the songwriting talents of Ayers and Edwin Birdsong. The album tracks featured a version of Ayers’ “Everybody Loves The Sunshine” along with the “rare groove” track “Daylight.”

The group disbanded shortly afterwards but reformed in 2006 for new tours.

Since then, White has embarked on three solo ventures, including his latest release Up Close (reviewed here on our Smooth Jazz Reviews section).

Up Close finds White writing, recording, arranging, mixing, and performing on all of the tracks, with other writers such as UK producer Nick Luscombe and Atlanta producer Tony Heath A.K.A. Tony Heat. Other musicians include Randy Villars, Paul “PC” Caver, Dave Stewart, Iva Durand, and Eliot Slaughter.

In order to promote Up Close, White set out on a 30-city tour with GAB Productions Inc. throughout the fall of 2018 to bring his “new, soul-filled and passionate music to willing listeners across the country.”

“I put my heart and soul into the creation of this CD, and I had my fans in mind the entire time I created it,” says White.

In addition to Ayers, White has shared the stage with artists such as Michael Henderson, the jazz quartet Gratitude, George Johnson of the Brothers Johnson, Reggie Calloway (former leader of Midnight Star), Chuck Loeb, Jeff Lorber, Everette Harp, Euge Groove, Phil Perry, Aubrey Logan, Richard Elliot, Rick Braun, Gerald Albright, and the nine GRAMMY®-nominated, platinum-selling artist Dave Koz.

His previous two albums, I Like It (2016) and So Beautiful (2006) serve as solid indicators of an unmistakable knack for creating that feel-good, soul-deep electricity all c-jazz lovers seek in good music. His is yet another name to watch explode on the scene. Up Close gets you there, and White’s plan is to keep you there. — Ronald Jackson