Ever since I was little I can recall the excitement in our house when my uncle came to town. His bright smile and warm heart brought stories from his adventures around the world. I started playing music at a very young age. My dad taught me ‘Boogie Woogie” chords and scales. I spent countless hours on the piano and flute creating my interpretation of blues and jazz, from those chords. My uncle would come to town and teach me chords on the piano he learned from some of the greats. He would sit with me at the piano while we created songs and melodies. I was sitting with greatness and didn’t even know it. One summer my sister took me to a concert in Cleveland to see the Temptations. I was only 12. I didn’t realize that the funny smoke around me was pot.I fanned the smoke away to enjoy the music. My sister whispered to me that my Uncle Hammer was playing sax on stage. I pierced to see him playing behind The Temptations. I was looking at greatness and didn’t even know it. Nate Fitzgerald – LoveHorn Music and Arts Foundation
I lost contact with my uncle until a few years ago when my mother passed away. We reconnected at her funeral. He has become a mentor to me and my kids who are in entertainment and the arts. His amazing wife Renetta has become a dear support and encouragement to our arty family.“Many people have asked me what it’s like being a musician and playing with so many people. The best way I can describe it is if you were to go out at night fall and began to count all the stars in the sky. By the time the morning sun would come up you still would not be finished. The next night when you go back out again and start counting, you would have to start at one. Every night is different, nothing is the same, but it is all exciting!” Nate Fitzgerald
Nate Fitzgerald has played with all of the great legends of Motown and R & B, on Sax. He was best friends with Grover Washington before he passed away. He has shared with me some pretty amazing stories about the Chittlin Circuit back in the day. One story he shared with me was the week that Martin Luther King was assassinated he was staying in the same hotel a few doors down. He was on tour with the Mighty Clouds of Joy and was switching to go on tour with the Staple Singers the next day. He said that the whole week the atmosphere was just charged with restlessness. He said he saw a cat jump into a trash bin after doing a set that night outside his hotel balcony. He watched as the cat was thrown back out by the rats in the trash can. He said it was an eerie disturbing week. The morning he came back from his room after doing a set with the band Martin Luther King had been shot just a few doors down from him. He was there when one of our greatest leaders was killed.
Fitzgerald has played with so many people with his unique style. Nate has played with many Blues, Jazz, Pop, Funk, and R & B greats. There are many stories he has to share about being on the road with Albert King. Albert King was the brother of B.B. King. Nate toured with him for many years playing sax across the world. He has played all around the world. I recently did a blog about Big Mama Thornton. I asked him if he had played with her and he said he had not but he had played the sax with Big Mamma Mae Belle. He had played with Frank Sinatra in his early years in the band he was with.
One of the unique things about his ability to play sax was a trick he has done for years that no know the secret to. He has fire that blows out of his sax. He has never revealed this to anyone how he does this.
His discography is extensive:
Grover Washington Jr
Bobby “Blue” Bland
The Main Ingredient
Big Joe Turner
The Staple Singers
The Four Tops
John Lee Hooker
Martha and the
- Jimmy Smith – Dr. Lonnie Smith – Don Paterson
- Joe Tex
Big Mamma Mae Belle
- Recorded With:
- Staple Singers
- National Geographic
on Doo-Wop Groups of
- European Blues Festival Switzerland
There are many more people to add to this list. There are many people not listed he sometimes recalls over the years. He told me when he was on tour with Albert King in Sweden and Etta James performed. She was singing a song. She stopped and stepped back from the mic, waited a few minutes and then began to sing again to finish the song. My uncle said after she went back to the dressing room, a doctor came in to see her. They discovered that she had actually had a slight heart attacked while performing. She had carried on and finished the song. He also played with Cuba Gooding Sr. of the The Main Ingredients.
One time The Main Ingredients were supposed to perform in the park with Curtis Mayfield. This was at Wingate Field in the Brooklyn neighborhood of East Flatbush. It had rained that day so The Main Ingredients cancelled performing at the event. Curtis Mayfield went on and performed anyway that day. He went on stage at the time that The Main Ingredients would have been playing. An unexpected gust of wind toppled the heavy lighting scaffold overhead. It came crashing down. Curtis Mayfield was crippled for life from that event. My uncle said that would have been them if they had performed. He would have been injured from the lights that fell. http://www.spinner.com/2009/09/25/twisted-tales-curtis-mayfields-body-is-paralyzed-but-not-his-g/
“I got started in Columbus Ohio. I can remember as a teen Grover Washington and I, sitting on the bed playing different runs on sax. I had graduated from high school and I was scheduled to attend college on scholarship. I sat outside the college until the early morning hours contemplating what I should do. I went home and packed my bag to go on tour with Gladys Knight and the Pips. I never looked back.The many years I have traveled I have seen so much. Some of my best years were spent on the road with Albert King. He was a gifted musician and a friend.” Nate Fitzgerald
My uncle Nate Fitzgerald has taught me so much about life, music, and the industry. This last year we worked together to get his CD out “Champagne Sketches “ on Amazon. It was an honor and exciting adventure. His CD has such greats as D-Train singing on it. His smooth melodic jazz comes with years of experience and love for music.
This last year he also started the LoveHorn Music and Arts with his wife Renetta. His Foundation is in New Jersey. He desires to raise up the next generation in music. He has always had a heart to help others. He worked with Luther Vandross when he was just starting out. He also tried to encourage Phyllis Hymen to sign with a record company before her death. His influence and wisdom is priceless. He is looking for building space and funding to teach music to people of every age. In this last year he started teaching in a partnership with New Jersey Programs for the community. Buy his CD to help donate to the foundation! Email Here!
The LoveHorn complex will be located in New Jersey to provide local and national training in the arts for youth and young adults. Nates ‘s many years in the music industry have birthed the vision for a Music, Art, and Performing Arts complex that will help raise up the next generation. Many of today’s youth are gifted and talented but need mentors in the entertainment business. The need for experienced teachers from the industry, equipment, and mentors is vital. Music and arts programs are being cut from the public school system leaving many youth without the needed guidance to pursue their dreams. LoveHorn is a non-profit seeking to provide excellent training, guidance, and experience for upcoming talent. Nate recently taught drumming techniques from the experience he has had from working with the greats in drumming. He knows their techniques personally from being on the road with them for so many years. His patient heart and gentleness to all comes across very strong in his teaching style.
“I have shared one of many stories that was part of my experience of traveling on the road with many legendary artists. I would like to pass these experiences on to all forthcoming generations. My dream is to help mentor and raise youth and the community with a supreme understanding of the beauty and hardships of being in a challenging entrepreneurial business. I am many things… A musician, a business man, a filmmaker, a producer. But the most important title I have… is being a cultivator of the future through my past.” Nate Fitzgerald
My son and daughter have been blessed to have him in their lives. He has been a major encouragement for their careers. When my son auditioned for Wayne Brady in NYC he stayed with my uncle. Nate went with him to auditions to support him. My son just finished up a tour with Wayne recently. My uncle’s input and wisdom helped achieve that. My daughter who is a writer, blogger, and social network consultant has received advice and encouragement for her career. Nate has extended himself to make sure she makes the right decisions in the industry. My children are examples of the wisdom and love he displays in making sure the gifted are supported in the arts.
This next year I am hoping to spend more time with my uncle in getting his story out. He also has a Hot Sauce called “Papa Nate’s” we hope to help him get on the market. Along with a cookbook that showcases a Vegan diet that he’s developed from years on the road traveling that helps your health.
He also has his own recording studio and film studio to work with emerging artists. If you are looking for someone to help you get your music off the ground contact him. Michael LeMorin’s new CD Pawol is an example of the quality and expertise my uncle brings to the table. Nate’s studio helped him produce this powerful, powerful CD. The track “I Don’t Wanna See” is very emotionally moving. His music is pure and from the soul and heart!
My uncle’s next CD of his music will drop soon also. If you want to know more about this great jazz legend go to his website. They need donations for his foundation to buy instruments and purchase a building. You can go to Amazon to buy one of his tunes for 99 cents to put on your IPOD, or download the whole CD. Make sure you check out his music. My uncle Nate Fitzgerald is a music legend and a gift to the arts community!