Jazz Monthly: Well, I’m always excited to have my next guest join me at JazzMonthly.com. As always, when he does a new record, it is always killer and this one is no exception. It is called Goin’ All Out. He’s one of the most popular saxophonists in the business. Please welcome Blue Note recording artist, the exciting Mr. Eric Darius. Eric, how ya doin’, my friend?
Eric Darius (ED): I’m doing great, Smitty. How are you?
Jazz Monthly: All right. Man, I’m loving this new record Goin’ All Out.
ED: (Laughs.) Thank you very, very much.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, it’s a fitting title, man, because when you’re listening to these great tracks, you can definitely understand why you titled it Goin’ All Out because not only is it great music, but you’ve got some fantastic players on this slick new album.
ED: Thank you.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah. I noticed a couple of names right away, a couple of great producers and arrangers, and that’s Darren Rahn and Mel Brown. Great cats.
Jazz Monthly: Talk to me about these two cats, man, and what they bring to your great project.
ED: Well, as you know, on my last album, Just Getting Started, Darren Rahn produced half of the album and with the songs that Darren produced, Mel Brown was also playing on those tracks, and something about Darren Rahn, he just understands my vision. He understands what direction I want to go and I don’t even really have to tell him what I want to do, but he knows exactly where I want to go and we just have that natural chemistry in the studio together, so every time we work on something, it’s exactly what I envisioned, if not better. So when I was approached about working on this next project, Darren was the first person that came to mind because he understands exactly what I want to do and we just have that great relationship like that, so working with Darren on this project was a pleasure, as it always is.
Jazz Monthly: Well, it sounds like you took my advice because I remember when you first started working with Darren, I said “You need to do some more songs with this cat,” so thanks for taking my advice on that. (Laughs.)
ED: Well, you know, I’m glad I have people like you. (Both laugh.) If it weren’t for you, Smitty, I don’t know what I would do.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, right. (Both laugh.) Well, I’ll tell you, man, he’s a great guy to work with, because he really complements your music very well.
ED: He really does, and the thing about Darren is he’s a younger guy so he understands the classics and he understands the new contemporary twist, and so I’m right in the middle, where I try to infuse some classic traditional sounds with some contemporary cutting edge sounds, and he really understands exactly what I want to do with my music, so he’s a perfect complement to my music.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, and Mel Brown, man, what a great cat. Man, he is just an incredible bass player.
ED: That boy can play! (Laughs.) He can just flat out play. I mean, he’s funky, he can groove, he’s smooth when you need him to be smooth, he’s just the perfect bass player for any situation. So when Darren approached me about producing the record and we were looking at finding musicians to record, we both came up with Mel Brown, of course.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah.
ED: He did some work on my last album and he just really understands the groove and he’s just the complete package.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, and he always comes prepared, man. He is one of the most prepared musicians to just get down that I have ever run into.
ED: You know, he really is and what’s funny is we did a lot of different takes of the songs and you should hear some of the stuff that this man did. I mean, it was so amazing that we had to tone it down a little bit.
Jazz Monthly: (Laughs.)
ED: When you’re keeping radio in mind, people would be like “Whoa, what was that?!”
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, man. I feel it!
ED: So we really had to narrow it down and find a take that fit within the context of the music. But he’ll give you whatever you want. That’s the great thing about Mel.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah, and a great guy too, man, yeah, a really cool cat. I always enjoy talking with him and listening to his music, and he’s done a lot of work over the years and he’s a young cat, but he’s got it working, man.
ED: Yeah, he sure does.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah. So now I’m enjoying the entire project and I was excited to hear that you were doing a new one, but I gotta say that bringing Norman Brown in on this project was a very cool thing too and I love that track, “Just for the Moment,” man.
ED: Thank you.
Jazz Monthly: So was that something that you and Norman just kinda sat down and wrote together or was that something…?
ED: Actually, there’s a story behind this song. “Just for the Moment” was a song that I composed myself and actually on the whole CD this was the only song that I wrote by myself, and the story behind this song is I actually ended up splitting with my ex-fiancee about a year and a half ago and around that time frame I was going through a lot. I mean, it was a very tough time for me. I was down, I was depressed, and I kind of lost myself in a sense. I didn’t really know what direction to go in and it was a major change for me, a major lifestyle change, and so during that time frame, I mean, I just kind of lost my motivation and I was trying to pick myself back up but it was just really tough, just because I had to learn a lot and it was a major life change, so after a couple months, I remember specifically I left the gym one day and I got this real optimistic, positive feeling.
I had a great workout, I was driving home, I was by myself, I turned the radio down, and I just kind of started reflecting on some of the positive things in my life. I’m very thankful for all the experiences that I’ve had and I realized that the problem that I was going through was just for the moment, that things were going to get better, that there was light at the end of the tunnel. It was kind of like a spiritual thing, like God was telling me that “You know what? You’re gonna get through these problems, everything is going to be okay, learn from your experiences and move on.” And that’s kind of what this song was all about, so when you listen to it, it has this real bouncy, upbeat, really happy, positive type of vibe, and that’s exactly what I wanted to convey to the listeners, because that’s how I felt when I wrote the song. It was kind of that type of song where you know what? I moved on with my life and things are going to be better now, and that’s how I came up with “Just for the Moment.”
Jazz Monthly: Well, it’s a great song, man and you put your heart in that one. You can feel that, yeah.
ED: Thank you, and Norman Brown was the perfect complement to this song.
Jazz Monthly: Yeah.
ED: When I wrote it, I wanted to feature an artist on this song and the first person that came to mind was Norman. When you hear Norman’s playing, he just has this real charismatic, positive, excited type of vibe to his playing, and he was the perfect fit for the song, so I contacted him about doing it and it worked out great, so I’m really blessed that I had the opportunity to feature him on this track.