Eric Darius: Night on the Town

The 21-year-old smooth-jazz saxophonist Eric Darius is another young musician establishing himself as a contemporary jazz artist of note. Darius isn’t really breaking any new ground stylistically on his sophomore album, Night on the Town (Higher Octave); what gives the album its freshness and sparkle is the young saxophonist’s upbeat sound and the palpable pleasure he derives from making music. A merry spirit pervades the aptly titled “Joy Ride,” while the title track somehow manages to be simultaneously sultry and sprightly; the tune is more evocative of a fun, lively night out than a romantic evening. Darius adds a brisk groove to freshen up his cover of the Al Green chestnut “Let’s Stay Together,” and he gets funky on “In the Pocket.” This album will put a smile on your face and leave you wanting to hear more from this engaging new artist.