A popular high-energy and soulful saxophonist on the smooth jazz circuit, Eric Darius has his own style on tenor and alto, with a strong grounding in straightahead jazz. Born in New Jersey and raised in Tampa, Florida, Darius came from a musical family and heard jazz regularly as a child. After being inspired by a saxophonist who he saw playing at church, he was given a saxophone for his tenth birthday. Within a year he had developed to the point where he was asked to join Sonny LaRosa’s America’s Youngest Jazz Band, touring the U.S. and playing at the Montreux Jazz Festival. He also had opportunities to tour with his high school band and the University of South Florida Jazztet. At 17, Darius recorded his first CD, Cruisin’. A few years later, while still in college, he recorded Night on the Town for the Higher Octave label, and in 2006 he made Just Getting Started for Narada Jazz, which included four hit singles. Darius, who considers Stevie Wonder, Jeff Lorber (with whom he has recorded) and Earth, Wind & Fire to be important musical influences, has also worked with keyboardist Brian Culbertson, both in concerts and on recordings. Most recently, Eric Darius has recorded Goin’ All Out for Blue Note, including pop, hip-hop and R&B elements in his original music.