The 2018 Jazz At The Amp



Four80East


Four80East Website


Four80East is the brainchild of producers Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace, also known internationally for their indie label/production house, Boomtang. Born in 1997 as a small indie UK release, “The Album” went on  to revitalize the Smooth Jazz world the following summer when the first  single, “Eastside”, broke through in the US to became the seventh  most-played track on Contemporary Jazz radio that year.


Their sound lies at the forefront of what has been called the nu jazz  movement – taking the best of contemporary jazz and pop styles and  aligning them to produce a improvisational dance-infused sound. This  Toronto-based group draws from a variety of sources to make their music  happen, including found sounds, field recordings and sound effects  alongside their finely crafted studio recordings.


As with many so-called “acid jazz” groups, their music is not clearly defined as smooth jazz or any other type of jazz for that matter.  Four80East operates on a plane that expresses their own stylized ability  under an umbrella of electrified and funky vibes. They have a pronounced R&B influence that fills in the layers between jazz and soul. Improvisational by nature, their recordings are filled with  club-inspired beats, exotic rhythms and soulful melodies, some of which  are tied to interwoven vocals. A unique sound that can only be described  as “Four80East”.


Don’t let the title of Four80East’s latest album Off Duty fool  you—after over 20 years, veteran Toronto based composers and remix producers Tony Grace (beats and percussion) and Rob DeBoer (guitar,  keyboards) are busier than ever, finding colorful melodic and grooving  new twists on their trademark Nu Jazz vibe. While the titles of their previous hit albums En Route (2007) and Roll On (2009) reflected a  dynamic high energy dance element in the mix—a sound they fully captured in their huge, award winning hybrid hit single “Noodle Soup”–Four80East is kickin’ back and chillin’ this time around with a fresh update on  the classic acid jazz influence that drove their earlier recordings in  the late 90s.


Not that the two multi-talented musicians couldn’t use a break like  the New York City cab whose neon “Off Duty” sign (photographed by DeBoer) glows on the album cover. After working primarily in the studio  for the first 17 years of their eclectic partnership, they’ve been  hitting the road regularly since 2007, mixing it up onstage with some of  contemporary urban jazz’s most popular artists at festivals and venues  across the U.S. Since the release of Roll On, they’ve also expanded  their longtime audio production business to launch Ooya, Inc., which  focuses on TV and film composing. One of their long term gigs has been  doing the music for Income property, a home improvement show on HGTV  that debuted in 2009. Longtime fans of the duo know that their history  includes recording their own albums as The Boomtang Boys, and producing  and remixing for a variety of pop stars over the years as they built  their film scoring resume.







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