Born: December 19, 1957 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
When Eric was just 10 years old he used to dream of becoming a professional musician, to make his own records and tour around the world. When he first started playing his saxophone in 5th grade he really had no idea what all that even meant. Well, after having performed in over 60 different countries, recorded 10 solo CD's and playing on hundreds of other records, films, television shows and commercial jingles, Eric has definitely exceeded those musical goals he set for himself way back then.
After graduating high school in 1976, Eric went on to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA. There he studied with the legendary saxophone teacher, Joe Viola. . When he left Berklee, he had achieved the highest proficiency rating given by the school. In 1995, Eric was awarded the Berklee Distinguished Alumnus Award for outstanding achievements in contemporary music.
After moving to Los Angeles in 1980, Eric moved to New Orleans and played with legendary Al Hurt and his band for about a year. After Al's band ended, Eric returned to L.A. and a spot opened up in the Disneyland Band and it was there that Eric met many of the studio musicians that he still works with today. While working as a musician at Disneyland, Chick Corea heard him play and asked him to join the Elekric Band. Needless to say, Eric didn't stay in the Disney Band long after that. The Elektric band went on to record 6 albums, won 2 Grammys and travel to every corner of the globe.
After the Elekric Band's Light Years CD was released, Eric was offered his first solo record contract with GRP records. Chick produced Eric's first record, Voices of The Heart. His next 2 CD's, Roundtrip and Crossroads were produced by Eric and his long time friend and bass playing giant, John Patitucci. It was during that time that Eric became one of the most recorded sax players in contemporary jazz. He played on over 50 GRP records alone including records by Lee Ritenour, Dave Grusin, David Benoit, Don Grusin, Dave Weckl, John Patitucci, GRP All-Star Big Band and The Rippingtons. Eric juggled being a member of Lee Ritenour's band, David Benoit's band, Chick's Elektric band and his own band.
In 1991, Eric decided to call upon two musicians whom he had always wanted to work with, Jeff Lorber and Russell Ferrante of the Yellowjackets, to write with and produce his Oasis CD. It ended up being a great collaboration and one of Eric's most successful records. It made it into the top 5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Charts and 2 of the tunes made it into the top 10 of the National Contemporary Jazz Radio Charts. Eric went on to record two more records for GRP; One Touch and Street Dance, both produced by Jeff Lorber.
In 1997, Eric was signed by legendary jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour to record for his new label, i.e. Music. Lee produced Eric's Easy Street CD and the title track, which features Rick Braun on trumpet, made it to #2 on the National Contemporary Jazz Radio Charts. That same year Eric was voted to be among the top 3 alto sax players in the Jazziz Magazine Reader's Poll along with Phil Woods and David Sanborn. Eric's 2nd record for i.e. Music, Walk Tall, was a tribute to one of his musical idols, Cannonball Adderley. Produced by Harvey Mason, the single, Here In My Heart, stayed at #1 on the National Contemporary Jazz Charts for 3 weeks and the Cannonball classic, Mercy, Mercy, Mercy made it to #5.
Currently, Eric is signed to the Peak Records label, owned by Rippingtons founder Russ Freeman. Eric's first 2 recordings on Peak were Turn Up The Heat and Sweet Talk. The later of which featured the title track that was co-written by Eric's 14 year old son, Robert.
Eric's newest CD is his 3rd for Peak entitled Got You Covered. The record has a very heartfelt, mostly acoustic sound and it's one that Eric is obviously very proud of.
For the past 7 years Eric has been the musical director of an annual fundraising concert for High Hopes. High Hopes is a non-profit organization in Orange County, California that works with people who have suffered traumatic head injuries. With the help of guest artists such as Lou Rawls, Patti Austin, David Benoit, Brian Culbertson, Rick Braun, Vesta Williams, Jeff Lorber, David Pack and many more, these concerts to date have raise well over a half milloin dollars for this charity.
These days Eric is touring and recording continuously. Besides playing with his own band and the others that he is a part of, Eric gives Master Classes and performs with High School and College bands around the country. He has also been a dedicated educator with several educational series and play- along books available for young musicians.