Jamil Nasser was born George Joyner on June 21, 1932 in Memphis, Tennessee and learned to play the piano from his mother as a child. He took up the bass at age 16 and as a student at Arkansas State University he led the school band. He played bass and tuba in bands while stationed in Korea as a member of the U.S. Army and following his discharge he played with B.B. King in 1955 and 1956.
Moving to New York City in 1956, Jamil played with Phineas Newborn, Sonny Rollins, Gene Ammons, Evans Bradshaw, Randy Weston, Herbie Mann, Charlie Rouse, Kenny Burrell, Mal Waldron, Red Garland and Lou Donaldson before the decade was over. He toured Europe and North Africa with Idrees Sulieman in 1959, then went to Paris, France and recorded with Lester Young. He briefly lived in Italy briefly from 1961 to 1962 during which time he recorded with Eric Dolphy, then returned to New York City and formed his own trio, playing for the next two years. In 1964 he began working with Ahmad Jamal, a relationship lasting until 1972. He closed out the rest of the decade playing with Al Haig.
The 1980s and 1990s saw Nasser performing on many sessions with among others George Coleman, Clifford Jordan, Jimmy Raney, Harold Mabern, Gene Ammons and Hideaki Yoshioka.
Double bassist, electric bassist and tubist Jamil Nasser, who never recorded as a leader but is also credited on some of Ahmad Jamal‘s recordings as Jamil Sulieman, passed away on February 13, 2010 in Englewood, New Jersey.
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Philip Francis Bates was born June 19, 1931 in Brixton, London. After playing bass on regular gigs at London’s 51 Club with Harry Klein and Vic Ash throughout 1956, he joined The Jazz Couriers with Tubby Hayes and Ronnie Scott. After the Couriers disbanded,
Bates went on tour with Sarah Vaughan and played with the Lennie Metcalfe Band on the Cunard liner the RMS Mauretania. By the early 1960s he was working with Johnny Dankworth and Ronnie Ross, among others, before joining Dick Morrissey’s Quartet from 1962 until 1968. During that period he also played with the Harry South Big Band, as did the other members of the quartet, and with the Tony Kinsey Quintet.
In 1968 he played briefly again with Tubby Hayes and from 1968 on, he worked as a session musician, accompanying visiting American musicians such as Sonny Stitt, Jimmy Witherspoon, Judy Collins and Tom Paxton. He spent five years touring Europe with Stéphane Grappelli in the late 1970s and in the Eighties and 1990s he led his own trio. At 86, double bassist Phil Bates seldom performs, if at all.
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John Simmons was born June 14, 1918 in Haskell, Oklahoma and played trumpet at first, but a sports injury prevented him from continuing on the instrument. He picked up bass instead, landing his first professional gigs a mere four months after starting on the instrument. Early on he played with Nat King Cole and Teddy Wilson in 1937 before moving to Chicago, Illinois where he played with Jimmy Bell, King Kolax, Floyd Campbell, and Johnny Letman.
1940 saw him playing with Roy Eldridge and then spent 1941 to 1942 playing at various times with Benny Goodman, Cootie Williams, and Louis Armstrong. From 1942 to 1943 John played in the CBS Blue Network Orchestra, then played with Duke Ellington, Eddie Heywood and Illinois Jacquet through 1946, in addition to doing much studio work.
Simmons recorded with Lester Young, James P. Johnson, Hot Lips Page, Ben Webster, Billie Holiday, Sidney DeParis, Sid Catlett, Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas, Benny Carter, Bill DeArango, Al Casey, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Thompson, Milt Jackson, Buddy Rich, Tadd Dameron, Matthew Gee, Maynard fErguson and Thelonious Monk among numerous others.
Much of the 1950s Simmons continued to work as a studio musician recording with Erroll Garner, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Art Tatum, and the Rolf Ericson/Duke Jordan band. One of his last associations was with Phineas Newborn in 1960 before ill health forced his retirement not long afterwards. Bassist John Simmons passed away on September 19, 1979 in Orange, New York.
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Carl Briggs Pruitt was born on June 3, 1918 in Birmingham, Alabama and began his career as a pianist, but switched to bass in 1937. For a brief time he played around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and then went on to work through the Forties with Roy Eldridge, the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra, Lucky Millinder, Maxine Sullivan, Cootie Williams, and Mary Lou Williams.
The 1950s saw Pruitt touring with Earl Hines and the Sauter-Finegan Orchestra, but was mostly active as a sideman and session musician on recordings with Shorty Baker, Arnett Cobb, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Bill Doggett, Wynonie Harris, Bull Moose Jackson, Roland Kirk, George Shearing, Sahib Shihab, and Hal Singer among others.
Pruitt did not perform or record frequently in the 1960s or 1970s, but he did play with Woody Herman at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967 and recorded with Ray Nance in 1969. He toured France with Doc Cheatham and Sammy Price in 1975.
Double-bassist Carl Pruitt passed away in June of 1977.
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Kyle Eastwood was born on May 19, 1968 in Los Angeles, California and is the son of actor Clint Eastwood. Growing up with a father’s love of jazz for the music of Miles Davis, Dave Brubeck, Thelonious Monk and the Stan Kenton Big Band, he developed a similar love for jazz that was prominent in the home. This was coupled with a father and mother who played piano and a and grandmother who taught music at Northwestern University. Attending several Monterey Jazz Festivals in his youth with his dad, got him access backstage to meet people who a great influence on him like Dizzy Gillespie and Sarah Vaughan.
Eastwood began playing electric bass in high school, learning R&B, Motown, and reggae tunes by ear. After studying with French bassist Bunny Brunel, he began playing gigs around the New York and Los Angeles areas, eventually forming the Kyle Eastwood Quartet. In 1996 he contributed to Eastwood After Hours: Live at Carnegie Hall performance and ultimate recording, then two years later released his debut CD as a leader, From There to Here, on the Sony label. He moved on to record with the UK’s Candid Records and then to Rendezvous.
He has contributed music to nine films The Rookie, Mystic River, Million Dollar Baby, Flags of Our Fathers, Changeling, Gran Torino, Invictus and J. Edgar and has been nominated for a Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Original Score for the film Letters from Iwo Jima. He has also contributed to the score of the documentary Homme Less about homeless photographer Mark Reay. Bassist and bass guitarist Kyle Eastwood currently has eight albums released, tours around the world playing clubs and festivals and continues to write, compose, arrange and perform.