Eric Darius

 From playing at local clubs and hotspots in his native Tampa to wowing the crowds at the JazzTrax Catalina Island Jazz Festival, life for this 23-year college student has changed dramatically in just a few years. Yet, Darius’ approach to his music remains as sincere as the day he first discovered jazz as a child. “I’d been playing the saxophone for about one year, before I joined America‘s Youngest Jazz Band, which was led by renown trumpeter, Sonny LaRosa. The unique band brought in musicians from ages 5-12, and I was fortunate enough to be part of it for two years.” Listening to music around the house, Darius had always had a passion for  jazz, and being in this elite group changed his life. “We played a lot of great music from jazz legends, such as Duke Ellington and Count Basie. In addition to this, we had the wonderful opportunity to perform all over the country, and even at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. After having the privilege to perform all over the world and realizing the impact that it made on people’s lives, I knew then that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.”
  Born into a musical family (his father plays bass, his mother and sister sing, and his older brother plays the drums and trumpet), Darius studied at Blake High School of the Performing Arts in Tampa, Florida, where he was a member of the Blake Jazz Ensemble and many other bands the school offered. In 1999, Darius and the Blake Jazz Ensemble were selected to perform at the Essentially Ellington Festival in New York City, where they placed fourth out of the top twenty jazz bands in the United States. While in New York, he had the opportunity to play with Wynton Marsalis and Paquito D’Rivera in a jam session. A year later, Darius performed in Japan with the Blake Jazz Combo as part of Florida‘s Cultural Exchange Program. Throughout the past several years, Darius has played at several renowned venues, such as the JazzTrax Catalina Island Jazz Festival, the Capital Jazz Festival, the Apollo Theater in New York City, the Clearwater Jazz Festival, and – as a member of the University of South Florida Jazztet – the Umbria Jazz Festival (Italy), and the Vienne Jazz Festival (France). In addition, he has shared the stage with notable artists such as Prince, Dave Koz, Kenny G, Rick Braun, Mindi Abair, Boney James, George Benson, Dionne Warwick, Peter White, Richard Elliott, Ken Navarro, Wayman Tisdale, Brenda Russell, Jonathan Butler, Warren Hill, Norman Brown, Chris Botti, Kim Waters, and many others.
In 2001, Darius released CRUISIN’ independently at the age of 17. “I started writing music for this CD since I was 13. One of the major things that inspired me to make this album was the thought of ?Cruisin? in my own car!”  Darius goes on to mention that, since then, composing is his most personal expression. “I love to write my own music because that is something that comes from deeply within, and I want my listeners to really be able to feel what I felt when I wrote it. I love playing my instrument because it allows me to communicate with others on a personal level, and I intend on doing this for the rest of my life.” NIGHT ON THE TOWN, Darius’ major label debut on Higher Octave, showcased his maturing talent as both a songwriter and musician. Darius gave his freshly-funked tunes a breezy vibe that perfectly underscores his wicked chops.
Stevie Wonder, and Earth, Wind, and Fire were some of the artists who inspired Darius’ songwriting for NIGHT ON THE TOWN. “I really admire how their music evokes a mood and a place. I hope that audiences will make similar connections through my music.”  
Now, with the release of Eric?s brand new CD, JUST GETTING STARTED, he is moving one step closer to superstardom. 
 ?The thing that excites me the most about my music and my career is that I am just getting started. I am very anxious to see where my music takes me throughout the next several years. I think that this CD is the beginning is something great!? 
From touring the country, to being named the Smooth Jazz Debut Artist of the Year, to making a global impact, hold on to your seats ladies and gentlemen because Eric Darius is JUST GETTING STARTED!