Cleveland "Cleve" Eaton
Date of Birth: August 31, 1939 - 

2008 Inductee 

Cleveland Josephus Eaton II was raised with an intense comprehensive musical background. He was playing his mother's piano at the age of 5, and turned his efforts toward the saxophone by the time he was 8. Eaton took up the trumpet two years later and when he reached the age of 15, music teacher John Springer introduced him to the tuba and string bass.

Eaton played in a jazz group in college at Tennessee A&I State University, where he earned his bachelor's degree in music, 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, Eaton's version of "Bama Boogie Woogie" became a phenomenal best seller in the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, France and Australia.

Eaton's numerous honors include his induction to the Jazz Hall of Fame in Birmingham, Induction into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame, the Playboy Jazz Poll, Canada's Cultural Enhancement Award and the Achievement Award at the Count Basie Tribute Concert.

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 - Peppe Adams Quintet, the Larry Novak Trio and over 30 recordings in the 10 years with the Ramsey Lewis Trio, which included 4 gold singles, such as "Hang On Sloopy" and "Wade In The Water". There were 4 gold albums, including Solar Wind and Sun Goddess. Cleve has been on notable recording sessions with nearly all genres - jazz with John Klemmer and Bunky Green, R&B with the Dells and Bobby Rush, Pop with Minnie Riperton, Jerry Butler and Rotary Connection, Big Band with Henry Mancini, Frank Sinatra, Joe Williams, Billy Eckstein, Sarah Vaughn, Ella Fitzgerald and many more. Cleve was dubbed the Count's Bassist during his 16 year stint and over 30 recordings with the Count Basie Orchestra. Since 1985, Clever has performed and toured with his own group, Cleve Eaton and Co.