Born in Illinois in 1968 and raised in Washington State, Eric is a big-toned tenor player in the tradition exemplified by Dexter Gordon and George Coleman. He started out playing alto and studied classical music at Indiana University before switching to tenor and transferring to William Paterson College in New Jersey soon after discovering jazz.
Upon graduating, Eric moved to Chicago where he quickly became a fixture at local clubs and gained invaluable experience touring with organist Charles Earland. In 1991 he placed second at the Thelonious Monk Institute’s saxophone competition won by Joshua Redman.
Eric moved to New York in 1992, made his recording debut as a leader, New York Calling, on Criss Cross Records and started working with Mel Rhyne, Cecil Payne, Kenny Barron, and Eddie Henderson, among others (he was going to join drummer Art Taylor’s Wailers in 1995 however Taylor passed away).
Eric recorded two more sessions as a leader for Criss Cross, was featured on the label’s Tenor Triangle project and made four CDs on Delmark including one co-led with veteran tenor Lin Halliday before signing with Milestone Records in 1998. Eric has released six albums or that label including his most recent outing Nightlife in Tokyo (2003).
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As shock and outrage over George Floyd’s killing swept the nation over the weekend, even the luxurious streets of Vail Village were not insulated from pressure boiling over in the form of demonstrations.