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Nat Reeves: By the Grace of Jackie Mac

Never a headliner, finally a leader

Nat Reeves of The Valley Cookers, photo by Kimberly Deprey

It’s tempting to say that Nat Reeves has a low profile because he’s been more dedicated to his duties as an educator than to his career as a performer. Tempting, but inaccurate. Although the bassist has spent 30 years at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School, he’s also a working musician, and doesn’t distinguish between his roles. “I put ’em together,” he explains. “I think being a teacher helped me be a better player. Playing, teaching, learning, traveling-it’s all the same to me.”

Case in point: Although he’s at home in Connecticut for our phone conversation, Reeves played a gig in Florida with Stanley Jordan the night before. “He sent me some music two days before the concert, and I was a real student, learning his music,” he says. “So when we got to the gig, I was ready. There were points where he’d change direction, and he’d look over at me and I was right on it!”

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