In 1997, Eric was signed by legendary jazz guitarist Lee Ritenour to record for his new label, i.e. Music. Lee produced Eric’s “Easy Street” CD and the title track, which features Rick Braun on trumpet, made it to #2 on the National Contemporary Jazz Radio Charts.
Currently, Eric is signed to the Peak Records label, owned by Rippingtons founder Russ Freeman. “When Russ asked me to join the Rippingtons, he also offered me a deal with his label and I jumped at it. Playing with the Ripp’s has been incredibly fun for me and the band is awesome!” Eric’s first 2 recordings on Peak were “Turn Up The Heat” and “Sweet Talk”. The later of which featured the title track that was co-written by Eric’s 14 year old son, Robert. “Rob plays guitar and wrote this song which was originally more of a folk song. After I put my two cents in it turned into more of a smooth jazz tune and I don’t think Rob will ever forgive me!”
Eric’s next CD is his 3rd for Peak entitled “Got You Covered”. It’s an amazing collection of some of Eric’s favorite tunes and was recorded live in the studio. “Of all 10 of my records, this is my favorite. It features Russell Ferrante, Peter Erskine, Russ Freeman, Chick Corea, Dave Carpenter and Luis Conte. Most of the record was recorded live all together and all at the same time. It was so refreshing to record this way and the music sounds just like we played it.” The record has a very heartfelt, mostly acoustic sound and it’s one that Eric is obviously very proud of.
For the past 7 years Eric has been the musical director of an annual fundraising concert for High Hopes. High Hopes is a non-profit organization in Orange County, California that works with people who have suffered traumatic head injuries. With the help of guest artists such as Lou Rawls, Patti Austin, David Benoit, Brian Culbertson, Rick Braun, Vesta Williams, Jeff Lorber, David Pack, Lee Ritenour and many more, these concerts to date have raise well over a half million dollars for this charity.
Among all the different bands that Eric has been a part of, one of his favorites is the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band. Gordon is a very prominent, Grammy winning composer in Los Angeles and the Big Phat Band is among the most popular Big Bands in the world today. Eric is the band’s lead alto sax player and obviously loves being there. “This is about the only band I’ve ever been in that has as much fun traveling together as we do playing together! The audiences always go completely crazy during our shows and they know most of the music we play.” The band is made up of some of L.A.’s top studio musicians. The Phat band’s 3rd record, “The Phat Pack” was recently released in June, 2006. According to Eric, it’s the best record Gordon’s ever made.
Eric Marienthal published with permission of Bettie Grace Miner.