The contemporary American jazz quartet Fourplay formed in Los Angeles in 1991 as a supergroup that featured Bob James on piano, Lee Witenour on guitar, Nathan East on bass and Harvey Mason on drums. When Witenour left after three albums, Larry Carlton joined on guitar, to be succeeded by Chuck Loeb. Bob James is a Grammy Award-winning jazz artist who wrote 'Angela (Theme from 'Taxi')' for the popular American TV sitcom and many songs that have become jazz standards. Witenour, East, Mason and Carlton are all prolific jazz artists who have played on a vast number of sessions and had successful solo careers. Chuck Loeb, who died of cancer aged 61 in 2017, played for many years with Stan Getz and was a member of the bands Metro and Steps Ahead. Their eponymous debut album in 1991 was a mix of jazz, R&B and pop featuring vocalists Patti LaBelle, Philip Bailey and El Debarge, who sang on a cover of Marvin Gaye's 'After the Dance', which went to number two on Billboard's R&B Chart. 'Between the Sheets' in 1993 went to number two on Billboard's Jazz Albums Chart and earned a Grammy Award nomination. 'Elixir' (1995), which featured vocals by East with contributions from Phil Collins, Patti Austin and Peabo Bryson, topped the Jazz Chart and also won a Grammy nomination. Carlton replaced Witenour on '4' (1998) with guest vocalists Babyface Edmonds, El Debarge, Kevyn Lettau and Shanice. It went to number one on the Jazz Chart and also copped a Grammy nomination. After that, 'Snowbound' peaked at number seven, 'Fourplay. Yes, Please!' (2000) went to number one, 'Heartfelt' (2002) reached number two, 'Journey' (2004) hit number five and was Grammy nominated, 'X' (2006) with Michael McDonald reached number two and earned a Grammy nomination, 'Energy' (2008) and 'Let's Touch the Sky' (2010) went to number three, 'Esprit de Four' hit number two, and their 25th anniversary release 'Silver' reached number four. They had several hit singles over the years with 'Sonnymoon' (2012) and 'Silverado' (2016) both at number one on Billboard's Smooth Jazz Songs Chart. Following Loeb's death there were no signs of more Fourplay performances or records but at 77 years old, James led his Bob James Trio - featuring Michael Palazzolo on bass and Billy Kilson on drums and guest Randy Brecker on trumpet - in a season that was to run through December 2017 at New York's Blue Note Jazz Club.

Related Artists

Stations Featuring Fourplay

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