Nat Reeves was born in 1955 in Lynchburg, Virginia. His early years can be characterized as ordinary for a young boy complete with a supportive family, football and fishing. This normal life took a dramatic turn at 16 years, when he was introduced to the electric bass by his grandfather, Russell Jackson. When the self-taught musician teamed with other Virginia artists, the journey began. By 1979, he was in New York City, performing in small jazz clubs and at jam sessions.
Two events occurred in 1982 that would change Nat’s musical career forever. Nat traveled for the first time out of the US to Japan with Sonny Stitt. It was Sonny’s last tour and an experience Nat will never forget. At the same time, Nat moved to Hartford, Connecticut and started working with Jackie McLean, to this day the most important musical influence in his life. Nat began teaching at the University of Hartford and the Artists Collective. Jackie McLean was the major inspiration in the jazz program at The Hartt School and he and his wife, Dollie, founded the Artists Collective, an arts organization in the city. Nat found a calling in teaching and developed musical skills while traveling throughout the world performing and recording with Jackie and other living jazz legends.
In 1994, Nat started touring and recording with Kenny Garrett. He and Kenny first met in the late seventies in New York City. Performing with Kenny allowed Nat to further expand his soloing skills and taught him the importance of diverse musical collaborations in an ever-changing setting of musicians and venues. Out of a mutually respectful musical relationship, there developed a friendship that exists today.
It was in 2001 that Nat decided to focus full-time on his teaching career at The Hartt School. By this time, the University of Hartford had renamed the African American Music Studies Program to the Jackie McLean Institute of Jazz. Nat continued to perform, but not as intensely as in the past twenty years. And, most importantly, he continued his personal and professional relationship with mentor Jackie McLean.
Today, Nat is committed to perpetuating Jackie McLean’s legacy at The Hartt School, as well as continuing his career performing. Influenced most by bassists Sam Jones, Paul Chambers and Ron Carter, Nat is a gifted musician, who can be seen performing in every major jazz venue in the world.