Primary Instrument: Guitar
Eric’s earliest musical experiences were hearing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and singing gospel in the church choir. His grandfather bought his first guitar and amplifier, and he taught himself to play by listening to LP’s by Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5 and Al Green. His first exposure to jazz was Wes Montgomery’s California Dreamin’ and about the same time he also discovered the music of Jimi Hendrix. A life-changing experience in 1977 at a Weather Report concert (with Jaco at his peak) influenced Eric’s desire to play and compose instrumental music.
In 1988, he produced a solo record called “First Impressions” that landed him a deal with Los Angeles based jazz label Nova Records. He quickly followed that with “Second Thoughts” which produced the national radio hits “Come September” and “First Out”.
After graduating from Boston's prestigious Berklee College of Music in 1993, Eric released “Third Degree Burn” featuring a band of his fellow classmates. Touring cross country for two years with this group inspired his fourth recording, a powerful concert performance called Eric Essix & Modern Man, LIVE! Albums 5&6 were for Nashville’s Tribute/Diadem label: “Beautiful Music, Guitar” and the compilation, “Just Like You”.
In 1998, Eric was signed by Ricky Schultz at Zebra Records (WEA) and released “Small Talk”, topping the smooth jazz radio charts with the single, For Real. In 2000 he returned home to his roots with the release of “Southbound” on Zebra which produced another top 10 smooth jazz radio single, the classic “Rainy Night in Georgia”.
His latest release on the Essential Recordings label is a compilation called Retrospective which features music that spans an eighteen year recording career.
A NEW BIG BAND CD ON THE HORIZON
Making a total departure from his previous releases, Eric recently completed a new CD, produced by Ray Reach (Director of Student Jazz Programs at the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame), which showcases his guitar stylings against a straight-ahead Big Band backdrop. This new CD, titled Superblue, pairs Eric with the Night Flight Big Band, a powerhouse ensemble which has appeared regularly at Ona's Music Room in Birmingham, Alabama for several years. A very special guest saxophonist adds his unique artistry to this CD: Lou Blue Lou Marini, of Saturday Night Live and Blues Brothers fame. The CD is available at CDBaby.com.