“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.” —Maya Angelou
While in LA last Saturday, Cecile and I had the pleasure of attending an evening performance by Eric Darius, 35, one of the most gifted and exciting musicians to enter the American Contemporary Jazz scene in the last decade.
He had just closed out the Cancun Jazz Festival with Jazz icon George Benson. From the start this charismatic New Jersey born musician took over the room, and serenaded us with his sultry, original songs and tunes from the old jazz greats. As he roamed around the ballroom, he generated so much energy and excitement, we were up on our feet dancing.
Darius entered the world jazz scene at the age of 17, and since then has six critically acclaimed albums under his belt. He realized his calling at the tender age of nine when he heard a saxophone being played at his local church. He found himself “blown away by both the emotion and the soul of the instrument."
By age 11, after playing a saxophone for only a year, Darius was chosen to be in Sonny LaRosa and America’s Jazz Band, consisiting of young musicians, age five to twelve. The group toured the country and even played at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland.
In 2004 he was named the “Debut Artist of the Year" by Smooth Jazz News. He has shared the stage with some of the most renown Grammy Award-winning artists, such as Mary J. Blige, David Foster, Carlos Santana, Wynton Marsalis, Babyface and Prince. His Jazz music crosses into other musical genres such as R&B, Hip-Hop and Pop resulting in a fresh, distinctive sound that is uniquely his own.
Born into a musical family with rich traditions in Caribbean music. (His father is from Haiti and his mom is from Jamaica), Darius attributes his inspiration to Herbie Hancock, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Miles Davis and Prince for fearlessly trail blazing new frontiers in music.
He has been featured on Fox’s TV show, The X Factor, one of our favorite entertainment shows, and TNT’s hist drama series, Mob City. With the help of radio stations worldwide, his radio single, “Breakin’ Thru” recently made it to # 1 on the "Mediabase Smooth Jazz Chart."
He was also featured on the up and coming musician Adam Hawley’s radio single, “35 Street” that made it to # 1 on the “Billboard Contemporary Smooth Jazz Charts” for 5 consecutive weeks.
Humbled, grateful and honored by all the attention his music has been receiving, Darius continues his involvement in the “Mission in the Schools Campaign” he established several years ago. His goal is to inpire the younger generations of musicians to follow their dreams, play music and keep music alive in schools. Dedicated to this cause and having the desire to “Push it Forward" he has faciliated workshops with the Birmingham School of the Arts.
For those interested in attending one of his concerts while on tour around the country, check out his website at: www.ericdarius.com