Legendary jazz bassist Cleveland Eaton was born in 1940 in Birmingham, AL. He began the study of music when he was only five years old.
Ten years later he had mastered the piano, trumpet, and saxophone. When a teacher allowed him to take a bass home for practice, Eaton spent nearly every waking hour learning the instrument. He became what many call one of the best jazz bassists in the business. He has also made a name for himself as a composer, producer, and arranger. Some people are born with natural talent, and maybe Eaton had more than his reasonable share, but nothing was handed to him. He worked hard, long hours, keeping his dreams clearly in his line of vision. The hard work paid off early, and before he completed the ninth grade in high school, the young musician was earning significant enough paychecks to afford a brand new car.
In time, Eaton left his birthplace behind and moved to Chicago, IL. He kept working relentlessly, to the point of performing with over a dozen bands in one single day. He soon began recording with the Ramsey Lewis Trio. During a decade of service, Eaton performed on 30 recordings with the trio. Four of those albums went gold, and so did just as many singles, including "Wade in the Water" and "Hang on Sloopy." In 1979, Eaton was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame. The same year, he became a member of the Count Basie Orchestra. While in the orchestra he added another ten albums to his resume. All together he has lent his talents on somewhere over a 100 albums and composed about three times as many songs. Eaton, as a nominee for the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, finally went home to Birmingham in 1985. There he put together a band of his own, Cleve Eaton & Co. The ensemble has recorded tunes like "Corner Pocket," and "The B'ham Shuffle." Most of the group's numbers mix R&B and pop in with jazz.