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Cleveland Eaton

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Cleveland Eaton
Cleve Eaton
Background information
Birth nameCleveland Josephus Eaton II
Born(1939-08-31)August 31, 1939
Fairfield, Alabama, U.S.
DiedJuly 5, 2020(2020-07-05) (aged 80)
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
GenresJazz, swing, funk, R&B, pop
Occupation(s)Musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, record producer
InstrumentsDouble bass
Years active1960–2020
Associated actsRamsey Lewis, Count Basie Orchestra
Websitewww.clevelandeatonmusic.com

Cleveland Josephus Eaton II (August 31, 1939 – July 5, 2020) was an American jazz double bassist, producer, arranger, composer, publisher, and head of his own record company in Fairfield, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. His most famous accomplishments were playing with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and the Count Basie Orchestra. His 1975 recording Plenty Good Eaton is considered a classic in the funk music genre.[1] He has been inducted into both the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and the Alabama Music Hall of Fame.[2][3][4][5]

Biography

Eaton at a rehearsal before performing at the 2008 Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival in Birmingham, Alabama
Eaton at a rehearsal before performing at the 2008 Taste of 4th Avenue Jazz Festival in Birmingham, Alabama

Eaton began studying music at the age of five, and by the time he was fifteen, he had mastered the piano, trumpet, and saxophone. He began playing bass when a teacher allowed him to take one home, spending nearly every waking hour learning the instrument. This led him to become what many called one of the best and most versatile jazz bassists in the business.[5][6] Eaton came from a music-loving family, including an elder sister who studied at both Fisk University and the Juilliard School of Music in New York. He was a student of John T. "Fess" Whatley, one of the most influential and well-known educators in American jazz music during the 1920s and 1930s. who also mentored Sun Ra and Erskine Hawkins.[7][8] Eaton played in a jazz group in college at Tennessee A & I State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in music. He lent his talents to over 100 albums, and composed about three times as many songs.[6][2] After spending years on the road as a musician and arranger with a list of artists who form a virtual Who's Who of jazz, Eaton returned to Birmingham, Alabama, to join UAB's music department in 1996.[9]

Eaton played on notable recording sessions with John Klemmer, Ike Cole, Bunky Green, The Dells, Bobby Rush, Minnie Riperton, Jerry Butler and Rotary Connection, George Benson, Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Billy Eckstine, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald. Eaton was dubbed "the Count's Bassist" during his seventeen-year stint and over ten recordings with the Count Basie Orchestra. He has also performed with Nancy Wilson, Peggy Lee, Mimi Hines, Sammy Davis Jr., Julie London, Bobby Troup, Brook Benton, Lou Rawls, Nipsey Russell, Morgana King, Gloria Lynne, Herbie Hancock, Magic City Jazz Orchestra, The Platters, Temptations, and The Miracles. In 1974, he began performing and touring with his group Cleve Eaton and Co. In September, 1978 Eaton released a disco-themed track on Gull Records GULS63 called "Bama Boogie Woogie" which reached number 35 in the BBC Top 75 chart in the UK and proved very popular on the UK club scene at the time.[10] In 2004 his group became Cleve Eaton and the Alabama All Stars.[2]

Eaton died on July 5, 2020, in Birmingham, Alabama. He was 80, and had been hospitalized during the last four months of his life.[10]

Discography

As leader

  • Half and Half (Gamble, 1973)[11]
  • Plenty Good Eaton (Black Jazz, 1975)[12]
  • Instant Hip (Ovation, 1976)[13]
  • Keep Love Alive (Ovation, 1979)[14]
  • Strolling with the Count (Ovation, 1980)[15]

As sideman

With Gene Ammons

With the Count Basie Orchestra

  • Kansas City Shout (Pablo, 1980)[18]
  • Warm Breeze (1981)[19]
  • 88 Basie Street (Fantasy, 1983)[20]
  • Me and You (Pablo, 1983)[21]
  • Fancy Pants (1983)[22]
  • The Legend, the Legacy (1989)[23]
  • George Benson/Count Basie Orchestra Big Boss Band (1990)[24]
  • Best of the Count Basie Big Band (1991)[25]
  • Live at El Morocco (1992)[26]

With Bunky Green

With Ramsey Lewis

With the Soulful Strings

References

  1. ^ "Cleveland Eaton | Biography & History". AllMusic.
  2. ^ a b c "Alabama Music Hall of Fame :: Cleveland Eaton". March 26, 2017. Archived from the original on March 26, 2017.
  3. ^ "Untitled Document". July 2, 2015. Archived from the original on July 2, 2015.
  4. ^ "Birmingham Jazz Legend – Cleveland Eaton | Southern Living Blog". March 27, 2017. Archived from the original on March 27, 2017.
  5. ^ a b Fuqua, C.S. (2011). Alabama Musicians: Musical Heritage from the Heart of Dixie. The History Press. ISBN 9781609491574.
  6. ^ a b "Cleveland Eaton Page". Soulwalking.co.uk.
  7. ^ "Fess Whatley – Bhamwiki". Bhamwiki.com.
  8. ^ "John T. "Fess" Whatley". Encyclopedia of Alabama.
  9. ^ Short, Dale (1997). "UAB's Jazz Man: Cleveland Eaton". UAB Magazine. Archived from the original on December 12, 2012.
  10. ^ a b Beahm, Anna (July 5, 2020). "Alabama-born jazz bassist Cleveland Eaton dies at 80". The Birmingham News. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  11. ^ "Cleveland Eaton – Half And Half". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  12. ^ "Cleveland Eaton – Plenty Good Eaton". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  13. ^ "Cleveland Eaton – Instant Hip". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  14. ^ "Cleveland Eaton And The Garden Of Eaton – Keep Love Alive". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  15. ^ "Cleveland Eaton – Strolling With The Count". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  16. ^ "Gene Ammons & Dexter Gordon – The Chase!". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  17. ^ "Ammons* & Moody* – Chicago Concert". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  18. ^ "Count Basie, Joe Turner*, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson – Kansas City Shout". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  19. ^ "Count Basie And His Orchestra* – Warm Breeze". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  20. ^ "Count Basie & His Orchestra* – "88 Basie Street"". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  21. ^ "Count Basie And His Orchestra* – Me And You". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  22. ^ "Count Basie And His Orchestra* – Fancy Pants". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  23. ^ "The Count Basie Orchestra* Directed By Frank Foster – The Legend, The Legacy". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  24. ^ "George Benson & Count Basie Orchestra – Big Boss Band". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  25. ^ "The Best of the Count Basie Big Band – Count Basie – Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 4, 2018.
  26. ^ "The Count Basie Orchestra* Directed By Frank Foster – Live At El Morocco". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  27. ^ "Bunky Green – Playin' For Keeps". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  28. ^ "The Ramsey Lewis Trio – More Sounds Of Christmas". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  29. ^ "The Ramsey Lewis Trio and Jean DuShon – You Better Believe Me". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  30. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Wade In The Water". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  31. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – The Movie Album". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  32. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Goin' Latin". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  33. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Dancing In The Street". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  34. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Up Pops Ramsey Lewis". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  35. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Maiden Voyage". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  36. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Another Voyage". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  37. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Ramsey Lewis, The Piano Player". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  38. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Them Changes". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  39. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Back To The Roots". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  40. ^ "The Ramsey Lewis Trio – Upendo Ni Pamoja". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  41. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Funky Serenity". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  42. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Golden Hits". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  43. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Sun Goddess". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  44. ^ "Ramsey Lewis – Solar Wind". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  45. ^ "The Soulful Strings – Groovin' With The Soulful Strings". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
  46. ^ "The Soulful Strings – The Magic Of Christmas". Discogs. Retrieved July 5, 2020.
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