Eric Darius will bring his dynamic saxophone playing to the 12th John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. He will perform with Dave Koz, Maysa and Candy Dulfer as the Summer Horns.
Eric Darius was born in Livingston, New Jersey, raised in Tampa, FL, and now resides in Los Angeles, CA. He grew up in a very musical family. His Haitian father is a bass player while his mother, who has Jamaican roots, is a singer and piano player. That Caribbean influence was passed down to the young Darius and his siblings. His older brother is a drummer and trumpet player, and his sister sings and plays clarinet.
“I first fell in love with the saxophone as a nine-year-old and began playing at the age of 10,” Eric Darius recalls. “By the time I was 11, I started touring worldwide with Sonny LaRosa and America’s Youngest Jazz Band and playing Caribbean music in our family band. It’s truly a blessing to be from a family that not only supports my passion for music but has also given me so many opportunities to nurture my God-given gift and pursue a career in it.”
While growing up, Darius was also influenced by Earth Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Prince, Marvin Gaye, George Benson, James Brown, David Sanborn, Miles Davis, Bob Marley, and Grover Washington Jr., among many others. While still in high school, at the age of 17, he recorded and released his first album titled, Cruisin’, which would lay the groundwork for his seven full-length albums. In 2004, Darius signed his first record deal with Higher Octave Music, after label representatives saw him perform and wow the audience at Florida’s Clearwater Jazz Festival. This resulted in the release of his national debut album, Night on the Town later that year. In 2006, Darius released his third project, Just Getting Started through Narada Jazz. In 2008, he released Goin’ All Out (Blue Note Records), in 2010 On A Mission and 2014 Retro Forward (both through Shanachie Entertainment).
With seven highly-acclaimed albums to his discography, Darius continues to rack up some impressive statistics: Three No. 1 Hit Singles; Twelve Top 10 Radio Hits on Nielsen’s R&R/Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart; 2004’s Debut Artist of the Year by Smooth Jazz News Magazine; named 2015’s SESAC Top 10 Jazz Artist of the Year; 2017’s Best Jazz, Saxophonist, Composer, Producer & Musician of the Year Award at the 1st Annual Citril Starz Awards; featured on countless magazine covers; with many more milestones and honors to come.
Darius has made TV Appearances on Fox’s The X-Factor, TNT’s Mob City, and has shared the stage with Grammy & award-winning artists Prince, Mary J. Blige, David Foster, Carlos Santana, Jamie Foxx, Babyface, George Benson, Marcus Miller, Wyclef Jean, and many others.
Darius believes in giving back to today’s youth in the form of education. His On A Mission in the Schools initiative includes making regular appearances to speak and perform with students from elementary and middle schools to high schools and at the college level. “I benefited greatly from the music-arts programs, and education is very important to me,” says Darius. “I’m an advocate for music in the schools and I want to help keep it alive. It’s important to me to expose kids to Jazz, encourage them to follow their dreams and inspire them to play musical instruments. I feel I have a responsibility to pay it forward, encourage the next generation and help preserve the future of music.”