Nat Reeves

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Reeves in 2013

Nat Reeves (born 1955 in Lynchburg, Virginia) is an American jazz bassist. He resides in Hartford, Connecticut, and teaches at The Hartt School of the University of Hartford. He also performs internationally with a number of jazz artists.


Early life[edit]

At the age of 16, Nat Reeves was first introduced to the electric bass by his grandfather Russell Jackson. By 24, he had ascended the music scene with the help of other Virginia artists, and was able to play in small jazz clubs, as well as at jam sessions in New York City.

Early Career and Jackie McLean[edit]

In 1982, Reeves performed abroad for the first time, traveling to Japan with Sonny Stitt on what would prove to be the famed saxophonist's final tour. This same year saw him move to Hartford, Connecticut to begin working with legendary saxophonist, composer, music educator and community activist Jackie McLean. Once in Hartford, Reeves began teaching at what at the time was known as Hartt College of Music, and is now The Hartt School at The University of Hartford, as well as The Artists Collective, an interdisciplinary arts and cultural institution in Hartford's North End, founded by Jackie and Dollie McLean, in conjunction with iconic bassist and music educator Paul H. Brown, dancer Cheryl Smith and visual artist Ionis Martin. While in Hartford, Reeves found a calling in teaching, but continued to develop his musical skills through traveling the world as a performer, and recording with Jackie McLean among many other legendary jazz artists.

Traveling Musician[edit]

In 1994, Reeves started touring and recording with saxophonist Kenny Garrett, though they had first met when Reeves moved to New York City in the late 1970's. Performing with Garrett allowed Reeves to further expand his skills as a soloist, while also teaching him the importance of diverse musical collaborations in an ever-evolving landscape of musicians and venues. Through traveling and performing with Garrett in a mutually respectful musical relationship, a friendship developed that continues to this day.

The Hartt School[edit]

In 2001, Reeves decided to focus full-time on his teaching career within The University of Hartford's Hartt School. A year earlier, Jackie McLean's African-American Music Department had been renamed in his honor, and has been known as The Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz ever since. Reeves continued to perform, but not as intensively as the previous twenty years. His personal and professional relationship with Jackie McLean remained a central component of the bassist's life throughout the ensuing years.

After Jackie McLean[edit]

Since the death of Jackie McLean in 2006, Nat Reeves has remained committed to preserving, sharing and instilling his mentor's legacy at The Hartt School, while simultaneously continuing his career as a performer, both within the United States and on stages around the world.

Band leaders[edit]

Reeves has worked with a number of great band leaders, including Jackie McLean,[1] (alto saxophone); Kenny Garrett (alto and soprano saxophones), Pharoah Sanders (tenor saxophone), René McLean (multi-woodwind instrumentalist), Sonny Stitt (saxophones), Harold Mabern (piano), Steve Davis (trombone), Eric Alexander (tenor saxophone), David Hazeltine (piano), Mike Clark (drums), Houston Person (tenor saxophone), Larry Willis (piano), Mark Templeton (piano), Pat Metheny (guitar), Mike LeDonne (piano), John Scofield (guitar), Jack Wilson (piano), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Eddie Henderson (trumpet), Joe Farnsworth (drums), Randy Johnston (guitar), Javon Jackson (tenor saxophone), Benny Green (piano), Benny Golson (tenor saxophone), Donald Byrd (trumpet), Arthur Taylor (drums), Mulgrew Miller (piano), Kenny Kirkland (piano), Jeff "Tain" Watts (drums), Walter Bishop, Jr. (piano), Ronnie Burrage (drums), Walter Davis, Jr. (piano), Kenny Drew (piano), George Coleman (tenor saxophone), Sting (bass and vocals), Vincent Herring (saxophones), Vanessa Rubin (vocals), Shawnn Monteiro (vocals), Lewis Nash (drums), Junko Onishi (piano), Alan Jay Palmer (piano), Steve Nelson (vibraphone), Roy Hargrove (trumpet), Eric McPherson (drums), Raymond Williams (trumpet), Jim Snidero (alto saxophone), Jeremy Pelt (trumpet), Peter Bernstein (guitar), Grant Stewart (tenor saxophone), Mike Renzi (piano), Greg Abate (alto saxophone) Abraham Burton (saxophones), Stanley Jordan (guitar) Michael Carvin (drums) and countless other iconic musicians from across the art form as a whole.


Reeves has performed at major venues and festivals across Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, and in the United States.


As leader[edit]

  • State of Emergency (482 Music, 2012)

As sideman[edit]

With Eric Alexander

With Steve Davis

  • Crossfire (Criss Cross, 1998)
  • Portrait in Sound (Stretch, 2000)
  • Dig Deep (Criss Cross, 2004)
  • Update (Criss Cross, 2006)
  • Alone Together (Mapleshade, 2007)
  • Eloquence (Jazz Legacy, 2009)
  • Gettin’ It Done (PosiTone, 2012)
  • For Real (PosiTone, 2014)
  • Say When (Smoke Sessions, 2015)

With Mary DiPaola

  • Cat’s Cradle (Brownstone, 1997)

With Mike DiRubbo

  • From the Inside Out (Sharp Nine, 1999)

With Joe Farnsworth

  • Beautiful Friendship (Criss Cross, 1999)
  • Drumspeak (CMD, 2006)
  • Super Prime Time (Eighty Eight, 2012)
  • My Heroes: Tributes to the Legends (Venus, 2014)

With Kenny Garrett

With David Hazeltine

  • Good-Hearted People (Criss Cross, 2001)
  • The Jobim Songbook (Chesky, 2007)

With Javon Jackson and We Four

  • Celebrating John Coltrane (Solid Jackson, 2012)

With Laird Jackson

  • Touched (Cap, 2002)

With Randy Johnston

  • Jubilation (Muse, 1994)
  • Somewhere in the Night (HighNote, 1997)
  • Homage (JCurve, 2000)
  • Hit and Run (HighNote, 2002)

With Jacques Lesure

  • Camaraderie WJ3, 2015)

With Harold Mabern

With Tom McClung

  • The Telling (Terieva, 1997)

With Steve McCraven

  • Sound of the Forest Boogaraboo (World McMusic, 1994) with Archie Shepp
  • Bosco (EF Mic, 1996) with Archie Shepp and Arthur Blythe

With Jackie McLean

  • Dynasty (Triloka, 1988)
  • Rites of Passage (Triloka, 1991)
  • The Jackie Mac Attack (Dreyfus, 1991)
  • Rhythm of the Earth (Dreyfus, 1992)
  • Hat Trick (Somethin' Else/Blue Note, 1996)

With Rene McLean

  • Ancestral Calling: Music of the Spirit (I'Jazza, 2017)

With Michael Musillami

  • Archives (Playscape, 2001)

With Diana Perez

  • It's Happenin' (Zoho, 2008)

With Jesse Van Ruller

  • Here and There (Criss Cross, 2002)

With Dakota Staton

  • A Packet of Love Letters (HighNote, 1999)

With John Webber

  • Down for the Count (Cellar Live, 2014)

With Anthony Wonsey

  • The Thang (Sharp Nine, 2006)

With Saori Yano

  • Yano Saori (JRoom Jazz, 2003)
  • O2 (JRoom, 2004)


  1. ^ Bogdanov, Vladimir; Woodstra, Chris; Erlewine, Stephen Thomas (2001). All music guide: the definitive guide to popular music. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 1292. ISBN 978-0-87930-627-4. Retrieved 7 June 2010.
  2. ^ Nat Reeves discography, accessed March 12, 2018

External links[edit]