Official Bio (courtesy of Eric Darius)
Born into a musical family in New Jersey and raised in Tampa, Eric Darius has been a lover of music from birth, with his parents exposing him to jazz at a young age. Eric soon began listening intently to all kinds of music-from R&B, gospel, pop, reggae, blues, hip hop, and latin. However, it wasn't until the ripe age of 9 years old, on a Sunday morning, that Eric realized his calling. "I would watch this saxophonist play at our church every week," he recalls. "Something about that sax just penetrated my soul and moved me. I truly believe that I didn't pick the instrument, the instrument picked me! My father bought my first saxophone for my 10th birthday, and I've never looked back since."
By age 11-after only playing for one year-Eric was chosen to be in Sonny LaRosa and America's Youngest Jazz Band, which consisted of young musicians, ages 5-12. The group toured the country and even played at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Throughout Eric's young, illustrious career, he's had the tremendous opportunity to travel and perform worldwide with groups, such as the Blake High School Jazz Ensemble, the University of South Florida Jazztet, and with his own band to Japan, Indonesia, France, Italy, and many other countries. In addition, he has also shared the stage with countless notable artists, such as Prince, Brian McKnight, George Benson, Wynton Marsalis, and Dionne Warwick, just to name a few.
Even though Eric is passionate about performing, one of the most meaningful things to him is writing his own music, which he has been doing since the age of 13. "The music I compose comes from deep within my heart and soul," Eric states. "I write based on my emotions and experiences, and my songs are an honest reflection of my life. Music is my personal statement of who I am, so when you hear one of the songs I've written, it's my way of giving you a direct connection to me."
Eric came roaring out of the gate at the age of 17 with his first independently produced and distributed CD, Cruisin' (inspired by fantasies of what it was going to be like to drive his very own car). A few years later, he made his first major label debut, signing with Higher Octave Records, through whom he released Night on the Town (2004) followed by Just Getting Started (2006) on Narada Jazz. He made major inroads into the competitive smooth jazz market with the hits "Slick" and "Night on the Town." He was also featured on keyboardist Brian Culbertson's It's On Tonight and A Soulful Christmas albums, later joining his high energy band for a couple of years, thus solidifying the importance of a great live show. "There's nothing like feeding off of the crowd's energy on stage," Eric states. "Just to see the joy on their faces makes it all worthwhile!"
Beyond his own music, Eric keeps busy collaborating with others. He has a performance on contemporary jazz pioneer Jeff Lorber's next album. But some would be surprised to know that Eric-now 25-is studying business at the University of South Florida. "I want to apply business knowledge to my music career, and be as well-rounded as possible."
That also extends to the styles of jazz he intends to record as time marches on. Acknowledging his newfound presence on Blue Note Records, Eric states, "I'm really honored and excited to be on this reputable label. Some of the guys I grew up idolizing such as Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock recorded for Blue Note. Every time I make an album, I want to continue to develop the way they did-with faithful listeners willing to take those musical journeys along with me. I want them to hear, see, and feel my continuous evolution as a composer, player and performer. I'd also love to record straight ahead jazz at some point. It really is the foundation of my playing. I learned so much from listening to legends like Cannonball Adderley, John Coltrane and Charlie Parker. If it wasn't for them, I wouldn't be half the musician I am today."
That musician is Eric Darius: ever moving music forward...and always goin' all out!