Eric Marienthal

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Eric Marienthal
Eric Marienthal - Jazz na Starowce 2012 (3).jpg
Marienthal in 2012
Background information
Born (1957-12-13) December 13, 1957 (age 59)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Saxophone, flute, piccolo
Labels GRP, PolyGram, Peak
Associated acts Chick Corea Elektric Band, The Rippingtons, Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band, Jeff Lorber Fusion
Website Official website
Marienthal (right) with Ray Reach, Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame
Marienthal (left) and Russ Freeman

Eric Marienthal (born December 13, 1957[1]) is a Grammy Award-winning[2] Los Angeles-based contemporary saxophonist best known for his work in the jazz, jazz fusion, smooth jazz, and pop genres.

Early life and career[edit]

Eric Marienthal was born on December 13, 1957 in Sacramento, California to Robert Marienthal, an insurance salesman, but moved to San Mateo when he was two years old.[3] He has credited his enthusiasm for music on being taught music while in school, and picked up the saxophone in the fourth grade after he thought it looked "pretty cool". Marienthal has also mentioned his father was a fan of music, particularly 1940s and 1950s such as Boots Randolph, Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra.[4] He initially wanted to pick up the trumpet but a teacher discouraged him because of his braces. As Marienthal progressed, his father bought him a $400 Selmer saxophone and enrolled him in Corona Del Mar High School.[3] Throughout his education, Marienthal also learned to play guitar (in grade school), flute, clarinet (both high school) and piano (college).[4]

After graduating from high school in Southern California in 1976, he studied at the Berklee College of Music,[5] where he studied with the saxophone professor, Joe Viola.[4] By the time he left Berklee, Eric had achieved the highest proficiency rating given by the school.[6] In 1995 Eric was awarded the Berklee Distinguished Alumnus Award for outstanding achievements in contemporary music. He has since gone on to perform in over 65 different countries, recorded 14 solo CDs and has played on hundreds of records, films, television shows and commercial jingles.[citation needed]

Marienthal started his professional career in 1980 with famed New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt.[1] After returning to Los Angeles, Eric became a member of the Chick Corea Elektric Band.[1] Marienthal has stated that he was a Chick Corea fan even before he started performing with him.[3] He recorded 6 CDs with that band and 2 of those CDs were Grammy award winners.

Six of the songs that Marienthal has recorded have made it to the top 10 of the National Contemporary Jazz Radio Charts and two have made it to No. 1. His "Oasis" CD hit the top 5 on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz Chart. Shortly after that, he was voted one of the year's "Favorite Alto Sax Players" in Jazziz Magazine's Reader's Poll along with David Sanborn and Phil Woods.[citation needed]

Marienthal has also written 3 instructional books, "Comprehensive Jazz Studies & Exercises", "The Ultimate Jazz Play Along" and "The Music Of Eric Marienthal" as well as 3 instructional videos, "Play Sax From Day One", "Modern Sax" and "Tricks of the Trade", all published by Warner Brothers Publications, which is now Alfred Publishing/Belwin Jazz. Every summer since 1999, he has put on an annual fundraising concert for High Hopes Head Injury Program, a non-profit organization in Orange County, California that works with people who have suffered traumatic head injuries.[7][8]

Marienthal currently occupies the lead alto chair of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band,[2] playing alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, and piccolo. Marienthal is married to his wife of thirty years, Lee Ann; the couple have two children.[3]

In 2012, Marienthal released the album It's Love, produced by guitarist Chuck Loeb, who also appears on the tracks. The studio band includes keyboardist Russell Ferrante, drummer Gary Novak, and bassist Tim Lefebvre.[9]

The art of the duo is as intimate as it gets in jazz. Two minds, two distinct creative energies and two souls interwoven to conceive one symbiotic sound and vision. Bridges, (released August 21, 2015 on PeakRecords/Shanachie Entertainment) the new recording from celebrated saxophonist Eric Marienthal and guitar wizard Chuck Loeb, demonstrate so poignantly what two dynamic forces can accomplish when they are of like mind. Collectively Marienthal and Loeb have lent their creative energies to such iconic stars as Stevie Wonder, Stan Getz, Chick Corea and B.B King. The duo’s shared strong musical connection, camaraderie and influences coalesce on Bridges creating a breathtakingly beautiful journey through ten riveting tracks. “Chuck and I both felt as though we were crossing a bridge to a completely different direction,” confesses Marienthal. “It was very exciting to be able to stretch and try new things. After all, isn't that a big part of what jazz is all about?” Loeb adds “Eric is a great creative partner and an amazing musician. He’s very demanding of himself, and inspires me to do the same.” Although Loeb and Marienthal have collaborated with one other on stage and in the studio previously, Bridges is their first co-led project.

When Eric Marienthal and Chuck Loeb set out to record Bridges there were a few albums the duo drew inspiration from including Keith Jarrett and Jan Garbarek’s My Song, Bill Evans and Jim Hall’s duet recordings and Pat Metheney/Lyle Mays’ CD As Falls Wtchita so Falls Wichita Falls. Just as the title suggests, Bridges seeks to push the boundaries and explore diverse musical terrain. The much anticipated project from two of contemporary jazz’s most sought after pioneers enlists help from three seasoned musicians; bassist John Patitucci (Chick Corea, Roy Haynes, Wayne Shorter), drummer Byron Landham (Shirley Scott, Betty Carter and Joey DeFrancesco) and percussionist David Charles (Michael Franks, Bob James, Bill Evans).

Bridges opens with the enticing and intoxicatingly warm “Westward,” which delights with its shifting meters, fugue-like and buoyant melody. Loeb and Marienthal’s graceful, lyrical and tender interplay sets the scene for the wonderful journey ahead. The absence of piano on the album really allows the dynamic duo to experiment with the textures melodically, harmonically and rhythmically. Marienthal explains, “The intention was to create an open sounding recording with fewer elements so that each instrument takes up a larger part of the sonic landscape. You can hear more detail in each sound and I think it gives the effect of bringing the music closer to you and more up front.” The breezy and tenor ballad “Crossing” follows and is inspired by Keith Jarrett’s composition “My Song.” The scorcher “Puentes,” meaning “Bridge” in Spanish, catapults Loeb and Marienthal to new heights as they explore the percussive side of their instruments with a Latin tinge. Loeb and Marienthal first toured with one another years ago in Spain, which is where Loeb’s wife, singer Carmen Cuesta, is from and where he resides half the year with his family. Loeb also got one of his early starts writing and performing with master conguero Ray Barretto. A highlight on Bridges is the surprising burner “Last Minute Blues,” which finds Loeb and Marienthal tearing it up at break-neck tempos and swinging from beginning to end with their fiery cohorts, bassist John Patitucci and drummer Byron Landham. “Daily Bread” is another standout and features Marienthal’s beautiful soaring soprano dancing amidst Loeb’s virtuosic, agile and graceful guitar. Bridges also features the spirited samba “Lucky Southern,” the yearning “Salamanca” and the soul-drenched “Duality.” The intense and majestic “Sun Rays” follows and the album concludes with the memorable and sensual waltz “Noir.”

Every summer for the past 19 years Eric has put on 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 many guest artists who have donated their time to perform, these concerts to date have raise well over $1,500,000 for this charity.

Eric has a very exciting interactive online school at ArtistWorks. The web address is The school features hundreds of Eric's video lessons on a very wide range of saxophone related topics for all levels of player for basic to advanced. There are also downloadable play-along tracks, pdf songs and exercises and Eric posts a new lesson every week. The school is based on "Video Exchange Learning" where the students submit videos of themselves playing one of the lessons or anything else they're working on and Eric posts a video response. The school is a community where everyone can watch and learn from each other.


-Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone with a Beechler Metal No. 7 mouthpiece and 'Ishimori Woodstone' ligature
-Yamaha Custom Z Alto Saxophone with a Beechler Metal No. 7 mouthpiece and 'Olegature' ligature
[4] -Selmer Mark VI Tenor Saxophone with a Berg Larsen Metal 100/2 mouthpiece and Brancher ligature
-Yamaha YSS 62 Soprano Saxophone with a Selmer Super Session #H mouthpiece and Harrison ligature
[4] -Muramatsu Flute

-Vandoren traditional 2.5 reeds[10]


Studio albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1997: Collection (GRP)


  1. ^ a b c Yanow, Scott. "Eric Marienthal bio at". Allmusic. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  2. ^ a b Russell, Stefene (2013-02-13). "Grammy Award-Winning Sax Player Eric Marienthal Headlines Friday's Autumn Hill Jazz Festival at the Sheldon". Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d Sauro, Tony (2013-12-09). "Jazz man lets the music do talking". Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Richmond, Kim (September–October 1996). "Eric Marienthal" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  5. ^ "Press release". Archived from the original on November 20, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-01. 
  6. ^ "Biography". Retrieved 2013-12-12. 
  7. ^ Kohlhaase, Bill (1999-06-29). "Key of Gee". Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  8. ^ Georges, Steve (2013-08-28). "Eye on O.C.: Jazzman jams with his friends and High Hopes benefits from the camaraderie". Retrieved 2013-11-29. 
  9. ^ "It's Love – Eric Marienthal". Retrieved 2015-06-26. 
  10. ^ "Eric's Equipment". Retrieved 2013-12-13. 

External links[edit]