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"Jazz Monthly Feature Interview" Eric Darius

eric dariusSmitty:  What can I say about my next guest, he’s an exciting new sax sensation of genre. I can shower you with great adjectives about this cat, but I’m going to just sum it up in one way:  This cat got chops!  He’s about to release a fantastic new project called Just Getting Started, I’m talking about Narada Jazz recording artist Mr. Eric Darius.  Eric, how ya doin’ my friend?

Eric Darius (ED):  Great, Smitty, how are you doing?

Smitty:  I’m wonderful, thank you. You have got to be one of the most exciting young men in the world right now because when we look at what you’re doing…I mean, you’ve finished this very cool project, which is a follow up to Night On The Town, love that CD…

ED:  Thank you.

Smitty:  Yes.  And now you’ve got this new CD and I love the title. You know, it’s almost like you’re saying “If you loved Night On The Town, hey, I’m Just Getting Started.”

ED:  (Both laughing)  And it’s so funny that you mention that because that’s exactly what I had in mind when I thought of that title.  It was kind of like a statement where, you know, “If you thought that was good, wait until you hear this.” That was kind of the way I looked at it. Also, there are so many other things going on in my life.

Smitty:  Yes I know.

ED:  Traveling all over the world, moving into the new house, getting engaged, and I feel like I am “just getting started”. I feel like I’m just starting to scratch the surface of where I’m going to go, so I feel like in a sense I am “just getting started.”

Smitty:  I’m glad to hear you say that because I want to share something that Marion Meadows, great sax player, mentioned to me a few months ago. We were discussing you one day and he said; “this cat Eric Darius is a phenomenal sax player. He is going to take the saxophone into the next millennium.”

ED:  Wow!

Smitty:  (Both laughing.) How ‘bout that?

ED:  Wow, that’s a powerful statement.

Smitty:  Yes, think about that. What a great statement, a cool thing to hear from a fellow musician who is a great sax player in his own right.

ED:  Yeah, absolutely. That means a lot coming from somebody like Marion.

Smitty:  Yes, so when you say you’re “just getting started,” just remember you’ve got a millennium, young man!  (Both laughing.)

ED:  That’s a long time.

Smitty:  Yes it is! Now, you’re on a tour, you’ve been on tour with Brian Culbertson, and that’s been exciting for you, of course.

ED:  Yeah, it’s been incredible.

Smitty:  And I caught up with you at Redondo Beach and that was great, and you’re putting together a tour for this new CD.  I realize that you’re a young man, but how are you keeping up?  How are you holding up?

ED:  I’m actually holding up really well.  I think I was born to do what I’m doing now and I’m just so excited about everything that’s going on, so I’m just ready to go  (Laughing).

Smitty:  Cool. How did you discover jazz?  You’re a young man in a pop world, how did you discover jazz?

ED:  My parents exposed me to jazz when I was very young, when I was about one or two years old. I grew up listening to jazz, so I had an appreciation for it very early on, and I love jazz.  There was nothing else that excited me more than listening to jazz. So by the time I was ten years old, there was a saxophonist at my church, he played there every single Sunday. There was something about the saxophone that just…really just captivated me.  It wasn’t just the physical beauty of the instrument, but the actual emotion that he played with.  I’m like “Wow, that’s incredible.” You know, the way he made me feel, I was like “I wanna be able to do the same exact thing,” so there was something about jazz and the saxophone that I completely fell in love with since I was little, so it was just really natural for me to pick it up.

Smitty:  You captivated by the sax and the music, but talk about your discovery of writing music, because that’s a whole different ballgame when you think in terms of “Hey, I love this instrument, but now I’ve gotta make it talk.”

ED:  Yeah, it’s funny because I really haven’t had any formal training as far as writing is concerned, but I can definitely say that it was just a God-given talent, you know, just the ability to write, and writing is something that is really a personal expression and it comes from deep within each and every single artist. So my writing just really comes from all the different experiences, whether it’s traveling on the road or somebody I meet or you know, just the many exciting experiences of life. I mean, so many different things inspire me to write music and there’s really no formula to it; it’s just something that comes very natural and I just write how I feel and this is what comes out.

Smitty:  That’s a cool thing, not everyone can say that.

ED:  That’s very true.  I’m very blessed.

Smitty:  Yes, you are, young man.  We’ve had conversations off and on over the past few months and one of the things that stands out is, you seem to gravitate to feeling, which is beautiful. Talk about how you incorporate that in your writing, your feelings and what you want your audience to feel.

ED:  Well, one thing with my music is, it’s my personal statement of who I am, where I’ve come from, what I’ve gone through, and with my music I want people to be able to feel what I felt when I wrote the music.  So, I mean, if they can’t feel my music, if they can’t feel what I’m trying to say, then I’m not getting my point across. So I always try to pertain to everyone’s feelings, and especially my own, because that’s what draws my inspiration for writing my music. So, yeah, it’s really all about feeling.

Smitty:  Well, I think after seeing you perform at a few shows, I think you’re getting your point across. (Both laughing.)  You play with such high energy and with a lot of emotion, a lot of passion, do you get tired?  (Both Laughing)

ED:  You know what?  I get asked that question all the time.  I’m like…because people are like, “I try to take pictures of you, but you’re running all over the stage and you’re doing this and you’re doing that, you must get tired,” and to be honest with you, I really don’t.  Number one, I stay very active, so I’m very physically fit.  I play basketball, I go to the gym, and I stay very active.  And number two, it’s just something about performing on stage, and just that energy that the crowd brings is so powerful that I can just go and go and go and not get tired.  So it’s really something, I really don’t get tired; I just keep going.

Smitty:  Cool. So you play basketball, huh?

ED:  I do.  (Laughing)

Smitty:  I know that, man. You mentioned that on the ship when we were on the cruise (All Star Cruise Nov 05.)  I tried to get you up there on the court.  I was gonna take care of you, but you didn’t show up, bro, what happened?

ED:  (Laughing) Well, you know, I was worried because I knew you had a lot of other things to do.

Smitty:  (Laughing).

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