Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Person, Eric (Anthony)

Person, Eric (Anthony), saxophonist (alto, soprano, tenor), flute, piano composer; b. St. Louis, MO, 2 May 1963. His father is Thomas Coh Person (b. 1938), and his mother is Noreen Person (b. 1939). His brothers are Thomas Jr. (b. 1961), Bryan (1965-1991), and Glenn Edward (b.1969) and his sister is Theresa Marie (b. 1972).

Thomas Sr., a saxophonist, started Eric off on the alto saxophone at age seven. Shortly there were private lessons and formal band experience which started in the fifth grade at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School through to Normandy Junior, where in the eighth grade he took his first improvised jazz solo. At Normandy Senior High School Eric excelled in many of the school's different bands. He was a member of the top jazz band, The Norseman, for three years. At Normandy High School he was in the marching band, the symphonic band and participated in classical solo competitions. In 1980, his junior year in high school, Eric enrolled in private study at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music and Saturday afternoon theory classes at Washington University.

In 1979 at a Big Band Jazz competition, Eric won the "Best soloist of the day" award and received a full scholarship to attend the Jamie Abersold Summer Jazz camps. There he met saxophonist Dave Liebman and pianist James Williams, which wet Eric's appetite to play Jazz on a higher level. At the camp he also met a local St. Louis pianist, James Matthews, who brought Eric into his quartet and there he got much needed experience playing the standard repertoire. In 1981 Eric studied piano and theory at Florrisant Community College and privately with St. Louis woodwind master Lloyd Smith.

In 1982 Eric moved to New York City to fulfill his dreams of becoming a jazz musician and to study and perform with the masters of the music. In September of 1983 Eric started working with Chico Hamilton's Euphoria, this began a long and important association with the legendary drummer. In 1984 Eric joined Ronald Shannon Jackson's Decoding Society where his involvement yielded six explosive releases. In 1988 he formed an innovative duo with percussion master Bob "Stiv" Coke called Sources. The group featured a bewitching concoction of tabla, sarod, acoustic guitar, berimbou and saxophones. Eric was branching out in many directions, developing his eclectic tastes. He played and recorded with diverse names in jazz and rock: Vernon Reid's Living Colour, Ben Harper, Ofra Haza, The McCoy Tyner Big Band, John Hicks, David Murray, Donald Byrd, Kelvyn Bell's Kelvynator, and others.

In 1990 Eric was featured soloist with the New York City Symphony during a special concert at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. He performed Duke Ellington's Three Black Kings. It was the first and only time a symphonic orchestra has played the famous theatre. 1994-97 found Eric playing in the Dave Holland Quartet. That group recorded and toured extensively. During that same period, (1993-95) Eric joined the World Saxophone Quartet.

By 1997 Eric felt the need to explore his own directions. His band Meta-Four has performed in the United States, Canada and Europe. With Meta-Four Eric continues important musical relationships with pianist John Esposito, bassist Kenny Davis and drummer Peter O'Brien.

Arrival (1992); Prophecy (1992); More Tales To Tell (1996); Extra Pressure (1999); Live At Big Sur (2002)
As sideperson:
Ben Harper: CD Box Collection, The Will To Live  (1996), Jah Work (single) (1997); Dave Holland Quartet: Dream Of The Elders (1995); World Saxophone Quartet: Moving Right Along (1993); Chico Hamilton: Euphoria (1987), Arroyo (1990), My Panamanian Friend (1992), Trio! (1992), Timely (1999), Foreststorn (2001); Ronald Shannon Jackson: Decode Yourself (1984), Taboo (1984), Beast in the Spider Bush (1985), Live At Greenwich House (1986), When Colors Play (1986), Talkeye (1987); Franklin Kiermyer: Kairos (1995);
Kelvynator (Kelvyn Bell): Refunkanation (1991);Ofra Haza: At the Montreux Jazz Festival (1990)
Unreleased live recordings with:
Meta-Four, Dave Holland, World Saxophone Quartet, Ronald Shannon Jackson, Chico Hamilton.
Live At The Bottom Line- Chico Hamilton (1991)
Dancing To A Different Drummer, Chico Hamilton (1994)
Blue Note- A Story Of Modern Jazz, (1997)
Walkin' in New York, Brenda Russell (2001)
Pleasure+Pain, Ben Harper (2002)
Away in The Manger, Cathy Campbell Director, music by Eric Person (1998)
Die Sonnengottin, music by Chico Hamilton (1992)
Liebe Auf Den Ersten Blick, music by Chico Hamilton (1991)
A Practical Man, Music by Chico Hamilton (1993)
Radio broadcasts:
NPR Jazz Profiles: Chico Hamilton (2001)
NPR Morning Edition, Chico Hamilton (1992)
WKCR: performance/interview with iSourcesi(11/13/1989)
WKCR: performance/interview, Eric Person Band (1996)
Television broadcasts:
Vibe TV Show: Ben Harper (9/1997)
MTV News: Week In Rock: Living Colour (11/1990)
BET Jazz Network: Live At The Knitting Factory Meta-Four (1999)
Live From Gracie Mansion, JVC Jazz Festival All-Star Jam (6/86)
TV Slovenija, Dave Holland QT (1995)
Moers Jazz Festival, Chico Hamilton Euphoria (1994)
TV Bratislava, Ronald Shannon Jackson, (1984)

Jazz Hot Interview, 11/2001
Down Beat players profile 6/2001
San Jose Mercury News article, 2/2001
St.Louis Post Dispatch article, 10/2000
Albuquerque Journal, 5/1999
Daily Freeman, 4/1999
The New York World, 9/1998
St.Louis Post Dispatch, 5/1998
Woodstock Times, 4/1998
The Riverfront Times, 11/1996
St.Louis Post Dispatch, 11/1996
Jazztimes, 6/1994
The Riverfront Times, 4/1993
Amsterdam News, 1993
Amsterdam News, 2/1990
August 2001 issue of Heart and Soul magazine

DownBeat Readers Poll 1992-95 (soprano saxophone)
Southern Missouri State University (SMSU) Outstanding musician award, 1979


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