Cleveland Josephus "Cleve" Eaton II was raised with an intense comprehensive musical background. He was playing his mother’s piano at the age of five, and turned his efforts toward the saxophone by the time he was eight. Eaton took up the trumpet two years later, and when he reached the age of fifteen, music teacher John Springer introduced him to the tuba and string bass.
Cleve played in a jazz group in college at Tennessee A & I State University (now Tennessee State University), where he earned his bachelor’s degree in music in 1960. He then moved to Chicago and toured with the Ike Cole Trio. He later performed memorable concert tours with top-notch jazz bands led by Larry Novak, Ramsey Lewis, and the legendary Count Basie.
Over the years, Cleveland Eaton became a consummate bassist, producer, composer, publisher, arranger, and head of his own Birmingham-based record company. As a recording artist, Mr. Eaton’s version of Bama Boogie Woogie became a phenomenal best seller in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France, and Australia.
Cleveland Eaton is scheduled to be inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame on February 22, 2008. He was nominated to the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1993 and has a Bronze Star in the Walk of Fame. Eaton’s other numerous honors include his induction into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame, the Playboy Jazz Poll, Canada’s Cultural Enhancement Award and the Achievement Award at the Count Basie Tribute Concert. He received the Governor’s Arts Award 1995 (Alabama) and the Don Redman Lifetime Achievement Award in 2004.
Cleve Eaton is a recognized name in the jazz world, as a producer, composer, arranger, and for his incredible performances with the Ike Cole Trio, Donald Byrd-Pepper Adams Quintet, the Larry Novak Trio, and over thirty recordings in his ten years with the Ramsey Lewis Trio, which included four gold singles, including Hang on Sloopy and Wade in the Water. There were four gold albums, including Solar Wind and Sun Goddess. (extract from Wikipedia.com)
Below~ A video of Cleavland Eaton, with Count Basie , Roy Eldrige, Duffy Jackson and Zoot Sims from the 1979 Kansas City 5 Special