Eric Person

Eric Person, a saxophonist, was born in St. Louis MO to Thomas Person, a local musician and businessman. He was a child prodigy who started playing the saxophone when he was seven years old and gained his first orchestral experience at the age of five. He continued his musical education at Normandy Junior High School and Senior High School, and eventually received his first jazz opportunities. Person was a member the Norsemen, Normandy High’s top jazz band. He gained popularity and was involved in nearly every aspect of school music. Person was motivated to go to school by the symphonic and concert orchestras, as well as the marching bands and solo classical work. Normandy was also a great place to develop his love for many musical styles. He was also a member the James Matthews Quartet and played in funk bands when he wasn’t playing in school groups. They worked in many of the top jazz clubs around St. Louis, such as The Place of Pleasure and Barbary Coast. It was a great experience for a teenager to learn serious jazz. We were singing all the top jazz songs, including “Isotope,” the “Inner Urge”, “Passion Dance”, “Passion Dance,” and Miles Davis songs. Person says it was great fun. Person discovered his passion for composition during this period of his musical education. He was first encouraged to compose by the legendary St. Louis saxophonist/composer, Jimmy Sharrod. Person wrote “Sharrod” in 1993 as a tribute. Later, it was included on Moving Right Along by the World Saxophone Quartet. Person also composed several other compositions during this period, such as “Great Expectations”, which has a challenging 5/4 time section, and “Mr. More or Less,” that teeters between 4/4- and 3/4 time signatures. Both were recorded on Arrival, and More Tales to Tell. These are two critically acclaimed recordings by Person. Person attended Normandy High in 1979 and enrolled at the St. Louis Conservatory of Music. He moved to New York City in 1982 to pursue his jazz music career. He met jazz legends like Art Blakey and Gary Bartz. He got his big break in 1983 when Chico Hamilton, the legendary drummer, called him. This fruitful partnership spanned five albums and many international and national tours. Chico is an inspiration in music. Person joined Ronald Shannon Jackson’s Decoding Society in 1984. Person was influenced by Shannon’s angular melodies and cosmic sonorities and ferocious energies. Later, he had his first chance to record and travel. “I was challenged from the beginning to the end on my first tour of Europe and the USA with Shannon. Person joined Kelvyn’s band, Kelvynator in 1987. Their CD, Refunkanation, was released in 1987. The band’s exotic, funky beat was intoxicating and intoxicating to the ears. Sources, a saxophone/tabla combo formed in the same year with Bob Coke. Coke was an accomplished musician, playing tabla, Indian Sarod, acoustic guitar and various percussion instruments. The band’s focus was on new sounds and directions, an energy for the age. They were praised for their innovative music and toured France and the Northeastern United States. Person toured internationally from 1987 to 1993 with Sources and Shannon Jackson, Chico Hamilton, and Kelvynator. Person was asked by Dave Holland to join his band in fall 1993. This was his most difficult musical experience. Holland’s use odd meters, free-time, and modality was exactly what Person needed. The release of Dream of the Elders reflected a light, energetic, and ethereal sound. Holland’s friendship with Person opened up doors to a more fruitful period, which continued through Person’s time with the World Saxophone Quartet. He worked Holland, WSQ and Chico Hamilton for the next four-years, and also released his first Soul Note Records CDs: Arrival and Prophecy. “I wrote like a madman during this period, and I love it when the pen is hot!” These recordings were praised by the media. From 1992 to 1995, Person was in the Top Ten in Downbeat Magazine’s Readers Poll. He was always pushing the musical boundaries to add songwriting, arranging and production, as well as creating his own sound. He began to put together musical combinations, hoping for the perfect sound that would become Meta-Four. The band’s early incarnations included Carlos Henderson as bassist, Darryl Grant as pianist, and Carlos Henderson as drummer. Strickland and Mark Johnson and Gene Jackson, as well as guitarist Cary DeNigris, have been replaced by the current lineup, which includes pianist John Esposito and Kenny Davis. Person’s fourth album, Extra Pressure, was released as the leader in Meta-Four in fall 1999 to great critical acclaim. This established Person’s reputation as an international leader in jazz. Live at Big Sur was Person’s fifth album as leader of Meta-Four in 2003. Person has lived in New York for the past 20-years and has been performing and recording with many musicians, including Vernon Reid, Vernon Reid, and the Allman Brothers.

Leave a Comment