Goin’ All Out
Blue Note Records
Still only 25, saxophonist Eric Darius proves he’s maturing musically with his fourth CD, appropriately titled Goin’ All Out. Whether onstage or in the studio, Darius brings a youthful, high-energy enthusiasm to his pop and R&B-flavored tunes that still maintain his forward-thinking smooth jazz roots. Working with a number of writers and producers, like many of the top R&B stars of today do, Darius effectively delivers a cogent mix of musical styles presented in a buoyant, instrumental style.
Keeping an eye on the crossover market, Darius lends his interpretations to two of his favorite artists with Mary J. Blige’s “Be Without You” and Ne-Yo’s “Because of You.” But Darius is best on his originals, where he has his own sound but also borrows from the best of yesterday and today. On the bouncy “Because of You,” for example, he channels saxophonist Steve Cole, while on “Just Like That” he brings a fresh sheen to the sounds of Grover Washington Jr. and Junior Walker. Darius dabbles in hip-hop with tunes like “Vibe With Me,” its double-beat drum programming recalling Christina Aguilera’s “Genie in a Bottle,” while on “Feelin’ Da Rhythm” he veers into the reggaeton/dancehall grooves that helped influence his musical upbringing.