This artist is one of the most exciting new artists to hit the scene. He has energy, excitement, passion and, most of all, groove. His name is Eric Darius. But before you read on, watch this performance … it will inspire you to read the rest of this post.
Darius’ explosive arrival on the contemporary jazz scene at age 17 caused a frenzy. This was not a surprise as the ambitious saxophonist, who has shared the stage with everyone from Prince, Carlos Santana, Wynton Marsalis, Wyclef Jean, George Benson, and Brian McKnight, had just released an auspicious recording debut and several years prior had already made an appearance at the famed Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Garnering accolades from critics, musicians and fans alike, there seemed to be a consensus that this young man was bringing a sense of history but yet a youthful and forward-thinking approach to the genre. Eric Darius, who has scored a #1 on Billboard’s Contemporary Jazz Charts and several top ten hits, has steadily proven to be anything but your typical ‘smooth jazz guy.’ The savvy business school grad whose iPod features a mix of everyone from John Coltrane and Bob Marley to Jay-Z , the Rolling Stones and Alicia Keys, confesses, “Contemporary jazz is the genre that has embraced my music, but I see myself as a musician first. I play every style of music from Jazz, R&B, Pop, Reggae, Hip-hop, Rock to Gospel. As I continue to evolve and grow musically, it’s the journey to explore new things that keeps me excited and hungry to do what I do.”
Eric Darius released his latest album and Shanachie Entertainment debut, On A Mission, in the summer of 2010. Danny Weiss, VP of Jazz A&R for Shanachie states, “If you think of jazz as a wonderful tree whose trunk is its great tradition and whose branches are the never ending innovations of its young disciples, then Eric Darius is the newest branch of that tree. He can swing like the masters and funk like a hip-hopper; truly the blossoming of tomorrow’s jazz.” The seeds have been sown and Eric Darius unearths his talents not only as a saxophonist but equally important, as a composer and co-producer on On A Mission. The saxman ,who first started experimenting with writing at age thirteen, cites Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock as among his biggest compositional influences. Darius acknowledges that music has always been an outlet for him to express his emotions and experiences. The Tampa-based musician says, “Stevie Wonder is incredible and I love the way his music can’t be categorized. The same is true for Herbie Hancock. With Herbie, his whole music catalog varies from album to album and even to this day, he continues to evolve as an artist and is not afraid to take chances, artistically.”