RCA Victor Group Signs Instrumental Supergroup Fourplay

BMG’s adult music division, The RCA Victor Group, has signed the contemporary instrumental supergroup Fourplay to the Bluebird label. Fourplay-Bob James (keyboards), Nathan East (bass), Harvey Mason (drums) and Larry Carlton (guitar)-are currently recording a new album to be released in summer 2002 and followed by a world tour.

Together and individually, Fourplay have been at the top of the pop, rock and jazz charts for the past three decades, earning an international reputation as "America’s Contemporary Jazz Supergroup." The group’s members have collaborated with such artists as John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand, Joni Mitchell, Elton John, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Seal, Babyface and Steely Dan, among many others.

"Bob, Harvey, Nathan and Larry are four of the most dazzling musicians we've ever had the privilege of working with," commented David Weyner, Executive Vice President, General Manager of The RCA Victor Group. "Fourplay are a musical franchise and global market leaders who we are delighted to welcome to the Bluebird family. Everyone at BMG and RCA Victor Group look forward to a long creative and commercial future with our friends in Fourplay."

What sets Fourplay apart is the group’s versatility, the ease with which they blend R&B, pop, rock, blues, classical and jazz, transcending each genre to fashion the popular sound that has yielded four consecutive #1 albums, gold and platinum certifications, sold-out world tours and a host of honors and awards. Fourplay’s self-titled debut spent 33 weeks at #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Chart and was followed by the Grammy-nominated "Between the Sheets" and "Elixir." "Elixir" was named both Best Contemporary Jazz Album in the Jazziz readers poll and Jazz Album of the Year at the Soul Train Awards. "Yes, Please," the group’s most recent recording, continued Fourplay’s #1 streak, made the Top 20 of Billboard’s year-end Contemporary Jazz Chart in 2000 and went on to earn yet another Grammy nomination.

In a career spanning four decades as a keyboardist, composer, producer and arranger, Bob James has had an astounding run of chart-topping tunes, gold and platinum-selling albums and groundbreaking musical highlights. He has recorded 29 solo albums, including three classical releases, and has collaborated with just about every major contemporary jazz artist. James’ work has graced a number of hallmark jazz recordings including two Grammy winners, "One on One" with Earl Klugh and "Double Vision" with David Sanborn. An accomplished motion picture and television arranger/composer, he is the composer of the iconic theme for the television show Taxi, among many other credits. James is one of the industry’s most prolific and in-demand studio luminaries, as well as being one of the rap and hip hop communities’ most sampled artists.

Bassist Nathan East is known to millions of fans worldwide for his work with Eric Clapton, including "Unplugged," the hit single, "Change the World" and the multi-platinum, Grammy-winning smash with B.B. King, "Riding with the King." Co-writing hits like the Phil Collins/Philip Bailey #1 smash, "Easy Lover," has also made East an award-winning songwriter. He has an Ivor Novello Award and is the recipient of an ASCAP award. East has recorded and co-written dozens of other hits with artists ranging from Madonna to Michael Jackson and Babyface. He has played the Super Bowl with Phil Collins and Sting’s Rainforest benefit at Carnegie Hall. East’s impeccable style and artistry have been featured on numerous Grammy Award-winning recordings by Elton John, James Taylor, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and Branford Marsalis to name a few.

Drummer Harvey Mason began his career playing with Duke Ellington and Errol Garner in the ‘60s, before moving on to become a pivotal member of Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters. He has earned seven Grammy nominations and his inspired drumming has also graced other artist’s Grammy winners, including Seal’s 1995 Record of the Year, "Kiss from A Rose." Mason has scored numerous award-winning motion pictures, played on more than 150 soundtracks and performed at the last 11 Academy Award presentations. He has also produced critically acclaimed albums and released six solo albums.

Widely regarded as the "guitarist’s guitarist," Larry Carlton’s distinctive guitar playing has garnered him three Grammy Awards and can be heard on more than 100 gold albums. Carlton, who replaced original Fourplay member Lee Ritenour in 1998 when they recorded "4," recorded 13 albums with jazz legends The Crusaders before embarking on a solo career. His 21 albums have earned nine Grammy nominations and three Grammy Awards: Best Pop Instrumental Performance for the Hill Street Blues TV theme and 1987’s "Minute by Minute," and, most recently, Best Pop Instrumental Album for "No Substitutions Live In Osaka," his live recording with guitarist Steve Lukather. Known for his "sweet sound" and trademark volume pedal technique, Carlton also became a sought after session musician, recording with John Lennon, Jerry Garcia, Barbra Streisand, Herb Alpert, Quincy Jones, Joni Mitchell and Steely Dan. Rolling Stone lists Carlton’s work on Steely Dan’s "Kid Charlemagne" as one of the three best guitar licks in rock music.

RCA’s jazz imprint of choice, Bluebird’s artist roster includes -- in addition to Fourplay -- Dave Douglas, Tom Harrell, and newly signed Grammy nominee Brazilian vocalist/pianist Eliane Elias. Bluebird’s extensive archive is also home to many of the biggest names in jazz, including Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey and Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Paul Desmond, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Mingus, Artie Shaw, Lionel Hampton, Sonny Rollins, and Fats Waller all of whom have been or will be featured on special reissues. The RCA Victor Group includes the Bluebird, Private Music, Windham Hill, RCA Red Seal, and RCA Victor labels.

For e-mail updates and information regarding Bluebird artists, promotions, tours, and repertoire, please visit their website.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Fourplay
  • Subtitle: Bob James, Nathan East, Harvey Mason & Larry Carlton
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