Eric Knight makes Crazy his own
From touring nationally with the Broadway show Swing! to recording, performing and touring with The Rolling Stones, Prince, J. Lo, Etta James and Randy Brecker, saxophonist Eric Knight has been setting the stage for his emergence as a powerhouse solo artist for years.
Concurrent with the early success of KnightHammer, a smooth jazz duo formed with longtime friend Doug Oberhamer, Knight’s debut solo single takes a freewheeling, easy thumping spin through Gnarls Barkley’s Grammy-nominated smash, Crazy.
The track showcases the saxman’s soulful, funky and deeply melodic soprano and his inventive approach to horn texturing, while also rocking out thanks to Marcus Machado’s incendiary guitar solo.
Knight grew up 40 miles north of NYC in Rockland County and started playing the saxophone and studying music intensely at the age of 11 when he entered 6th grade. By 7th grade he was playing in the high school bands and by 10th grade he was invited to play in Nyack College’s Orchestra. Knight attended Western Michigan University on a music scholarship from 1996 through 1998. His focus was on jazz studies and performance.
At the age of 16, he started venturing out to perform in public by sitting-in with jazz, blues, and rock bands at dozens of different NYC venues to start honing his craft. One of his favorite memories is sitting in on a few tunes with the legendary Doc Cheatham and his band at the old famous jazz club Sweet Basil’s in Greenwich Village – which closed in 2001.
Attending all these types of jam sessions led to Knight making relationships with some of the top working live and session musicians in NYC during the late 90s. Then the professional gig calls started coming in.
One awesome session was playing horn section parts with Mark Pender (Trumpeter with Max Weinberg 7) for Glen Burtnick’s Xmas Xtravaganza which put Knight on stage performing with Patty Smyth, Phoebe Snow, STYX, Patti Smith, Marshal Crenshaw, John Waite, among many others.
Another epic and unforgettable experience for Knight was opening for Grover Washington Jr. for a few shows in New Jersey.
“Grover was the Godfather of the smooth jazz format and will always be one of his top musical heroes,” says Knight.
…host of the Just Jazz radio show, writer, and occasional voice over artist.