Fourplay is a contemporary American smooth jazz quartet. The original members of the group were Bob James (keyboards), Lee Ritenour (guitars), Nathan East (bass), and Harvey Mason (drums).[1]

Bob James, founding member of Fourplay (2015)
Bob James, founding member of Fourplay (2015)
Background information
GenresSmooth jazz
Years active1991–2017 (indefinite hiatus)
LabelsWarner Bros., Arista/Bluebird, Heads Up
Past members

In 1997, Lee Ritenour left the group and Fourplay chose Larry Carlton as his replacement. In 2010, Larry Carlton left Fourplay and was replaced by Chuck Loeb,[2] who died on July 31, 2017.[3] During Loeb's illness, saxophonist Kirk Whalum joined the group for performances.

The group has enjoyed consistent artistic and commercial success by grafting elements of R&B and pop to jazz, appealing to a broad mainstream audience. Their debut album, Fourplay (1991), sold over a million copies and remained at the number one position on the Billboard contemporary jazz chart for 33 weeks.[4] Their next album, Between the Sheets (1993), reached number one,[4] went gold, and received a Grammy Award nomination. In 1995, their third gold album, Elixir, also reached the number one position and remained on the chart for more than 90 weeks. In 2015 the band celebrated its 25th anniversary with the release of the album Silver with former members Ritenour and Carlton.

In 2017, the band announced that it was going on hiatus for 2018 and will return to performing in 2019.[5] It has not happened.


Title Released Label
Fourplay 1991 Warner Bros.
Between the Sheets 1993 Warner Bros.
Elixir 1995 Warner Bros. (with Phil Collins, vocals on "Why Can't it Wait 'Til Morning?")
The Best of Fourplay 1997 Warner Bros.
4 1998 Warner Bros.
Snowbound 1999 Warner Bros.
Yes, Please! 2000 Warner Bros.
Heartfelt 2002 Bluebird/RCA
Journey 2004 Bluebird/RCA
X 2006 Bluebird/RCA
Energy 2008 Heads Up
Let's Touch the Sky 2010 Heads Up
Esprit de Four 2012 Heads Up
Silver 2015 Heads Up
The Best of Fourplay (2020 Remastered) 2020 evosound

Live albumEdit

  • Fourplay Live: The Authorized Bootleg (1992)


  • An Evening of Fourplay: Volumes I and II (1994)
  • Live in Cape Town (2005)
  • Live at San Javier Jazz Festival (2006)


  1. ^ Yanow, Scott. "Fourplay". AllMusic. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  2. ^ Lee Mergner (February 15, 2010). "Larry Carlton Leaving Fourplay". JazzTimes. Archived from the original on November 1, 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2011.
  3. ^ Mergner, Lee (1 August 2017). "Chuck Loeb, Guitarist and Composer, Dies at 61 - JazzTimes". JazzTimes. Retrieved 15 July 2018.
  4. ^ a b Colin Larkin, ed. (1997). The Virgin Encyclopedia of Popular Music (Concise ed.). Virgin Books. p. 486. ISBN 1-85227-745-9.
  5. ^ "News « Fourplay". Retrieved September 8, 2019.

External linksEdit