Four80East grew out of Boomtang Record's in house studio, The Speed of Sound. In fact the name for the group came from the studio's address - 480 Richmond Street East, in downtown Toronto. What Rob DeBoer and Tony Grace started in 1997 as a much needed musical break from their formidable dance/radio remix roster, ended 1998 as a top 20 album and top 5 single, "Eastside", at NAC/Smooth Jazz at US radio. The strong sales of their debut The Album fostered two more records on the Higher Octave label, namely Nocturnal in 2001 and Round Three in 2003. Both records garnered critical acclaim with Nocturnal making JazzTimes' Top 50 albums of 2001. With Round Three, the boys took the show on the road with their live debut at the Catalina Jazz Festival in 2003.
As with many so-called “acid jazz” groups, their music is not clearly defined as smooth jazz or any other type of jazz for that matter. Four80East operates on a plane that expresses their own stylized ability under an umbrella of electrified and funky vibes. They have a pronounced R&B influence that fills in the layers between jazz and soul. Improvisational by nature, their recordings are filled with club-inspired beats, exotic rhythms and soulful melodies, some of which are tied to interwoven vocals. A unique sound that can only be described as “Four80East”.