UC San Diego News Center


From UC San Diego to the Grammys and Back

Alumnus Nathan East returns to campus for benefit concert on heels of Grammy Awards performance with Daft Punk

Nathan East

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Chances are you have listened to UC San Diego alumnus Nathan East all of your life. You just may not know it—yet.

East is one of the world’s best bass guitarists, a Grammy nominee who has played with the likes of jazz, rock and pop royalty from Michael Jackson and Eric Clapton, to Paul McCartney and Beyoncé. On Saturday, Feb. 1, the 1978 UC San Diego graduate will return home to his alma mater for a one-time public performance entitled “Eastbound: Home” in the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall at UC San Diego from 3 to 6 p.m. All proceeds will go to scholarships for current students attending UC San Diego’s Thurgood Marshall College who graduated from The Preuss School UCSD, a charter middle and high school for low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college.

East’s concert arrives to campus on the heels of a performance for millions around the globe at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards on Jan. 26, where he will join Daft Punk to perform their chart-topping hit, “Get Lucky,” along with Pharrell and Stevie Wonder. East provided the baseline for the popular song, which is nominated for 2013 Record of the Year.

The special UC San Diego appearance will feature East performing with local jazz musicians and friends, members of his family and former UC San Diego professors including Cecil Lytle. The event is part of the annual Lytle Benefit Concert series, which raises funds each year for undergraduate scholarships—a cause that is especially close to East’s heart.

“We are so fortunate to have Nathan perform for the San Diego and campus community,” said Lytle, a professor emeritus who established the concert series 18 years ago to support scholarships for first-generation college students. “Nathan has always been generous with his time and resources to support UC San Diego and its students, and we are thrilled that he is sharing his talent with us during such an exciting time. In fact, we moved the concert date to accommodate his performance at the Grammys.”

Nathan East

In addition to playing with the likes of Clapton and Madonna, East has topped Billboard jazz charts with his band Fourplay and will release his first solo album, Nathan East, on March 25. The new album will feature appearances by members of Fourplay, as well as Stevie Wonder and Sara Bareilles.

A native of San Diego and graduate of Crawford High School, East began his music career as a teenager when he was hired by Barry White for a national tour. He became a member of the Love Unlimited Orchestra (“Love’s Theme”) playing Madison Square Garden, the Apollo Theater and other major venues while he was still a teenager.

In 1978, East earned a bachelor of arts degree in music performance from UC San Diego. He had begun work on a master’s degree when instructor Bertram Turetzky suggested that East already had enough education, and that it was time for him to move to Los Angeles to start his lucrative music career.

“The rest, as they say, is history,” said Lytle, who is a former professor and personal friend of East.

The concert, hosted by UCSD Alumni, is set for 3 to 5 p.m. in the Conrad Prebys Concert Hall at UC San Diego. Tickets, which are entirely tax deductible, are $75 for general admission, $60 for alumni and $20 for students with valid ID; students from all schools are welcome. Parking is free; tickets will be held at the door. For more information and registration, visit the Lytle Scholarships website or call 858-534-1507.