Nat Dove, The Original Texas Boogie King
Nat Dove has been playing blues, boogie-woogie and barrelhouse music for over four decades. And, as one of the last of a breed of blues pianist, Dove is the most sought after and respected blues pianist in the western United States.
Dove has been featured on the recordings of: Robert Cray, George "Harmonica" Smith, Freddie King, Big Mama Thornton, T-Bone Walker, Pee Wee Crayton, Louis Meyers and Big Joe Turner... just to name a few.
He has toured the world many times playing all the major capitals of Europe, Asia and the United States.
Dove has authored instructional books on Gospel Piano and has co-authored books with the great Memphis Slim and Mickey Baker.
In a 1979 review of the album I'm a Southern Man by Louis Meyers, Living Blues Magazine notes that the song on it titled "Woke Up" features "beautiful work from pianist Nathaniel "Nat" Dove, who shines throughout and should be recognized as one of today's top bluesmen on his instrument."
Westcoast Blues Review magazine states, "The art of blues piano is quickly dying out with only Nat Dove and perhaps a half-dozen other players left to carry on a tradition that is generations old. Nat Dove does not relish the idea of having a monopoly and sitting alone on the piano bench. He's actively teaching and promoting blues, boogie-woogie and barrelhouse piano on the lecture circuit, in schools on video and in books."
Nathaniel Dove, born in Mumford, Texas, on November 13, 1939, started to play the piano at the age of four. The second-oldest of five children all well-versed on the instrument, Nat and his siblings learned to play from their mother, a church pianist. With seven family members and only one piano, Dove says piano time was precious and family members played whenever they got a chance. He later learned to play the trumpet, bass and drums, eventually learning to write songs, arrange and compose music. Dove's early experiences as a musician included playing upright bass in high school dance band, doing local gigs around his home town of Bryan, Texas, playing drums with Juke Boy Bonner in the mid 1950s, meeting Big Mama Thornton and sitting in on recording sessions with other soon-to-be greats at an uncle's recording studio in Houston.
The 60s found Dove in Hollywood, during which time he became a very influencing force in the very active blues scene. His all-star band at the time included Nat on piano, Pee Wee Crayton on guitar, Mickey Champion on vocals, Curtis Tillman on bass, Bop Daddy on drums, Clifford "Honky Tonk" Scott on tenor sax, and Big Jim Wynn (band leader for T-Bone Walker) on baritone sax. It wasn't long before Dove's reputation as a talented and dependable musician brought him studio work as either a pianist and/or arranger. Dove's talents can be sampled from his great body of recorded work on: Little Johnny Taylor's 1963 mega-hit "Part-time Love", Little Joe Blue's 1965 album "Dirty Work Goin On", Lowell Fulson's "Live at the Pitt Inn" recorded in Tokyo, Japan. On the 1967 album by George "Harmonica" Smith titled "Mojo Workin", and on Robert Cray's "Who's Been Talkin". Other recordings featuring Dove are blues classics: Big Mama Thornton's "Stronger Than Dirt", Johnnie Shines, The Gospel Soul of Sam Cooke, and Lonesome Sundown's "Been Gone Too Long". In the early 1970s Dove left Hollywood and moved to Paris France. As Dove states it, "Hollywood and I had creative differences". Dove was determined to make his mark on the whole world.
After a very successful engagement at The Olympiad Music Hall, the oldest and largest concert venue on the continent of Europe, Nat became Composer-In-Residence at the American Culture Center in Paris, France. It was at this time in Nat's life that teaching and writing became his passion. Writing books with his fellow expatriates Memphis Slim and Mickey Baker. Composing, performing music as art, and not for its preconceived commercial potential was a dream come true for Nat.
In 1974, Dove composed music for the French stage play "Sail To Everest". In 1977, he composed the original score for "Petey Wheatstraw", a movie about the life of a bluesman by the same name. This brought Nat back to the United States and also a big hit record with his own band, "The Most Requested Rhythm Band", a high energy disco band who topped all of the bestseller charts to the end of the disco era. Continuing to pursue music on his own terms, in 1980 Nat became a full time music educator. Teaching, writing books and lecturing on African-American Music and culture. "Blues, gospel and jazz music is America's gift to the world" says Dove. "This is a tradition based in the musical expression of all basic human emotions. It can and does include one's personal feelings: joy as well as pain, pride as well as anger, love as well as hate, victim as well as culprit." Dove continues, "Blues music is cathartic for the performer and for his or her audience which is germane to the popularity and appeal this art form has enjoyed throughout the world for decades. Improvisation within a definable framework, and the ability to create extemporaneously are but two of the factors recognized which qualifies Blues music as a true modern folk art form."
Nat has returned to Europe on numerous occasions to perform in music festivals and conduct music workshops and clinics in The Netherlands, France, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the United Kingdom. Recently, Dove performed in what he stated was the most eclectic setting ever for blues music. This was at the The Volga, the most beautiful blues venue in the world is a Russian resaturant in Tokyo, Japan across from the Tokyo Tower and the Russian embassy. The audiences were from every place on the planet. "That's as it should be", states Dove, "for this dynamic world music."