Nathan's mission is to spread positivity, love and connection though music. This list of artists Nathan has worked with include Anacron, BUNT, Dam-Funk, Florence LaRue, Gingger Shankar, Henry Pope, Janice Freeman, KSHMR, Moses Sumney, Saint Motel, and The Untouchables. He has performed at Coachella, Lollapalooza, Sasquatch, Governor's Ball, UCLA Royce Hall, The Teragram Ballroom, The Late Late Show with James Corden, and Good Day LA.
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Nathan was born in Santa Cruz, CA, and demonstrated a passion for music from an early age, wailing on plastic saxophones and odd contraptions like the one you see above. He began playing alto saxophone and piano at nine years old, and within a year he organized a saxophone trio (of other 9-10 years olds) that played on the streets of Berkeley, CA with jazzed-up christmas songs and original compositions. In middle school, Nathan won the award for Best Original Song in Downbeat Magazine's Next Generation Competition. He also organized an instrumental jazz/funk group called The Heptet that had regular local performances and recorded an album "Live at E'xpression."
At Berkeley High School, Nathan founded Funky Bus & the U-Turns, which eventually grew into a twelve-piece R&B band, featuring lead singer Courtney Knott. Funky Bus became a became a local sensation, releasing an album and performing at numerous Bay Area festivals and events. Nathan also played alto, tenor, and baritone sax in the Berkeley High School Jazz Ensemble under the direction of Charles Hamilton. This was highly competitive group that toured in Japan and Europe, and was widely recognized in the high school jazz festival network.
During his senior year in High School, Nathan co-wrote an original musical with fellow student Abby Simons. The new musical "Double Digits" was premiered at The Florence Schwimmley Little Theater in April 2009. It was fully produced, with a 30-person cast, 12-piece band, lighting, costumes, etc. Having composed and arranged most of the music, Nathan was music director; and Abby was the director. "Double Digits" is both a heartwarming story of 5th grade romance and a political commentary on the misplaced priorities of the American education system. The show ran for 5 performances, sold out on 2 nights, and raised over $12,000 for the Berkeley High School Drama Department.
In Fall 2009, Nathan entered the UCLA Ethnomusicology Department (directed by Kenny Burrell) with an emphasis in Jazz Performance. He joined the UCLA Jazz Orchestra and played in jazz combos. Nathan also joined UCLA Medleys A Cappella, a community service-based vocal group with a mission to bring joy through music to those who need it most. After a year, Nathan became the musical director for this group and developed a love for a cappella arranging and developed a deeper personal connection to the healing power of musical vibration. Nathan now has a catalogue of over 30 a cappella arrangements that are available online. In 2013, Medleys won the ICCA Berkeley Quarterfinal, and Nathan won the award for Outstanding Arrangement.
Nathan partook in many musical projects at UCLA, eager to meet as many people as possible and expand his musical vocabulary. It was then that he got serious as a bassist, flutist, guitarist, and vocalist, playing in all kinds of bands: hip hop, soul, indie rock, punk rock, blues; and worked with artists such as Moses Sumney, India Carney, and Kiefer. In his senior year, Nathan discovered the magic of loop pedals and began a unique solo project, in which incorporates all of his instruments to perform original songs and covers. To invigorate and unite the UCLA live music community, Nathan organized and ran sound for concerts at his apartment "the treehouse" (legend says Jim Morrison lived there back in the day); these events ranged from jam-packed shows featuring local bands, to a Christmas party featuring UCLA a cappella groups, to popular open mic nights. In 2013 he recorded 8 songs that became the album, "When You Least Expect It," which is collection of original songs written while he was and UCLA and recorded with fellow students.
After UCLA, he had a residency for a few years at The Piano Bar in Hollywood with river-rock band AMBL as well as with his own jazz sextet. During this time he soaked up the sounds of world-class blues, country, americana and jazz fusion. He often listed to, and occasionally opened for, his favorite saxophonist, Kamasi Washington, who also had a residency there with Cameron Graves, Miles Mosley and the rest of the West Coast Get Down before blowing up on the international jazz scene.
Nathan held a solo residency playing piano and singing at Villians Tavern for most of 2017, which was also the the year, as it was for many of us, that he became more politically active. He released "Questions," an anti-capitalist political anthem, and put on a concert called "Come Together," which brought together over a dozen artists, accompanied by a 10-piece band that Nathan arranged the music for, to sing songs of unity, resistance, and hope.
In 2018, Nathan played regularly at Faith and Flower restaurant in Downtown LA and the Basement Tavern in Santa Monica with his jazz trio (Forrest Mitchell on drums and Mason Sacks on guitar), and when they were joined by Orlando Thompson on bass, they took the name Sake of Sound. Sake of Sound released their first album, "Blue Dream Elixir," in December 2019 along with a series of live videos from that session. . Their new 2020 residency is the first Sunday of every month at The Lincoln in Venice Beach.
2020 gave birth to Nathan's first releases as producer. "Third Eye of the Tiger," by Mystic Tiger (a collaboration with fellow UCLA alumni Taj Jegaraj, Sarah Wilson, and Akemi Osajima), was released on Earth day followed by an EP of the same name in June. Nathan has also music releasing his solo music under the name "Psychedelic Hobo Tarzan" as part of Unfamous Fest's "Cafe Om" music collections.
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