Tickets: Access to the concert comes with a Sunday session pass ($35), standard jazz and patron passes ($130/$220) and premium jazz and patron passes ($180/$280). Tickets are available at thelerner.com, by phone at (574) 293-4469 and at the Lerner box office, 410 S. Main St.
The eclectic musical background of the four artists who make up the band blend together to create a cohesive sound that will reverberate this weekend in downtown Elkhart, drawing a mix of fans who listen to everything from early traditional jazz to modern pop music.
Fourplay — bassist Nathan East, drummer Harvey Mason, guitarist Chuck Loeb and keyboard player Bob James — has toured around the world and recorded more than a dozen albums over the past two decades.
East said Fourplay thrives because of the band’s musicianship and diverse resume. East, for example started out playing classical cello when he was a kid, but by the time he was 14 years old, he found his calling as a bassist. He has lent his talents to more than 1,500 records from Daft Punk’s “Random Access Memories” to Michael Jackson’s “Bad” and Eric Clapton’s “Unplugged.”
“When I got to high school and I heard the big band, my ear automatically went to the bass,” said East, who teaches online bass lessons in his spare time. “I kind of fell in love with it once I heard that electric bass.”
Mason and East said they both listened to a wide spectrum of music growing up, and those influences can be heard in the songs they produce as professional musicians, both with Fourplay and their solo projects.
“When I was growing up, radio stations didn’t really isolate genres,” East said. “You could hear Jimi Hendrix and then you would hear Miles Davis and The Beatles, Cream and Wes Montgomery.”
Fourplay’s music is slick and energetic, Mason described.
“It’s clear, it’s quite intelligible and chock full of integrity and technique,” he added.
Mason said it’s always interesting when Fourplay works in the studio and on stage with artists outside the jazz genre. The band has collaborated with Phil Collins, Babyface, Anita Baker and Michael McDonald among others.
“Music is music, and people who are really talented and gifted can go in a lot of different directions,” he said.
The members of Fourplay connect musically and personally, Mason noted.
“We love each other and respect each other highly,” he said. “We love making music together. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have stayed together this long, going on 25 years.”
East said he is looking forward to playing a headlining show at the Elkhart Jazz Festival with his bandmates.
“We always try to end on an up note and send everybody out partying and singing,” he said.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.