By the time he was 12 years old, young jazzman Eric Darius had already played the Montreaux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Never mind that he was just 9 years old when he fell in love with the sax after hearing someone perform in church.
Since then, the 20-something saxophonist and composer has been in the company of greats such as Wynton Marsalis, George Benson and Prince.
Two days before his Tuesday release of “On a Mission,” his latest album with Shanachie Entertainment, he’ll perform in Atlanta at Sambuca. The 10 tracks on the new album are a mix of smooth jazz fused with R&B, hip-hop and pop. With the exception of Herbie Hancock’s “Butterfly,” with Rick Bruan, and one other tune, the CD is all original works.
Darius, who lives in Tampa, says he’s more than just a smooth-jazz musician. “I play every style of music from jazz, R&B, pop, reggae, hip-ho, rock to gospel,” Darius says in a release from Shanachie. “As I continue to grow musically, it’s the journey to explore new things that keeps me excited and hungry to do what I do.”
Erici Darius performs at 6:30 and 8:30 Sunday at Sambuca,3102 Piedmont Road NE. Tickets are $15 at www.eventbrite.com. “On a Mission” in stores on Tuesday.