Night on the Town, Eric Darius’ debut CD on Higher Octave grabs you from the first note and never lets you go. Produced by Ken Navarro, and including other top notch musicians like Gary Grainger, Jay Rowe and Andre’ “Blues” Webb, you know that this CD has got to be good. This young, hip sax player has got what it takes to be a star in the smooth jazz world, and has a flair for writing, with all but two tracks on this CD being written or co-written by Darius. His songs are crisp and keep you interested.
The tracks written by others are covers of two very cool, R&B flavored tunes. It’s always been said that when you do covers, make them your own, and Eric does just that with “Love TKO” and “Let’s Stay Together.” On his original compositions, Eric proves that he has a powerful sax and knows how to use it. The opening track “Joy Ride” has a great melody and the drums, courtesy of Andre “Blues” Webb add to the movement. It is only the beginning of the upbeat flavor of this entire CD. “Night on the Town,” “Let It Flow,” and “Cruisin’” keep the flow of this CD going. With the fluid and easy sound of Eric’s sax, you might think that he’s been around for years with the best of them. This 21-year-old sets the mood with a few slower melodies, but never loses his clarity and strength. “Heads Up” and “In the Pocket” show his versatility, while “You’re So Fine” shows us that Eric is not afraid to sing. His voice adds a nice touch to the album.
The feel of this CD is one of energy. The production work of Ken Navarro is ideal, and the placement of each track makes this CD flow perfectly from one song to another. It’s unfortunate that there could only be ten tracks, because you are left wanting more. Eric Darius has a very bright future ahead of him.
- Bonnie Schendell