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Eric Marienthal

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Eric Marienthal
Marienthal in 2012
Marienthal in 2012
Background information
Born (1957-12-19) December 19, 1957 (age 66)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
LabelsGRP, PolyGram, Peak

Eric Marienthal (born December 19, 1957[1]) is a Grammy Award-nominated[2] Los Angeles-based contemporary saxophonist best known for his work in the jazz, jazz fusion, smooth jazz, and pop genres.

Early life[edit]

Eric Marienthal was born on December 19, 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]


Marienthal (right) with Ray Reach, Director of Student Jazz Programs for the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame

Marienthal started his professional career in 1980 with famed New Orleans trumpeter Al Hirt.[7] After returning to Los Angeles, Eric became a member of the Chick Corea Elektric Band.[7] Marienthal has stated that he was a Chick Corea fan even before he started performing with him.[3] He recorded six albums with that band and two of them won Grammy Awards.

Marienthal (left) and Russ Freeman

Marienthal has also written instructional books, including Comprehensive Jazz Studies & Exercises, The Ultimate Jazz Play Along, and The Music of Eric Marienthal and instructional videos, including 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.[8][9]

Marienthal occupies the lead alto chair of Gordon Goodwin's Big Phat Band,[10] playing alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute, and piccolo.[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.[11]


  • Selmer Mark VI Alto Saxophone with a "Eric Marienthal Special" mouthpiece with a size 7 (.085 inch) tip opening[12][13] 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[14]


  • 1988: Voices of the Heart (GRP)
  • 1989: Round Trip (GRP)
  • 1990: Crossroads (GRP)
  • 1991: Oasis (GRP)
  • 1993: One Touch (GRP)
  • 1994: Street Dance (GRP)
  • 1997: Easy Street (PolyGram/Verve)
  • 1997: Collection (GRP)
  • 1998: Walk Tall (Verve)
  • 2001: Turn Up the Heat (Peak)
  • 2003: Sweet Talk (Peak)
  • 2005: Got You Covered (Peak)
  • 2007: Just Around the Corner (Peak)
  • 2012: It's Love (Peak/Entertainment One)
  • 2015: Bridges with Chuck Loeb (Shanachie)
  • 2020: Double Dealin' (with Randy Brecker, Shanachie Records)


  1. ^ "Rippingtons, The". Baker's Biographical Dictionary of Popular Musicians Since 1990. Retrieved December 17, 2017.
  2. ^ "Eric Marienthal". GRAMMY.com. November 23, 2020. Retrieved July 19, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c d Sauro, Tony (December 9, 2013). "Jazz man lets the music do talking". recordnet.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  4. ^ a b c d e Richmond, Kim (September–October 1996). "Eric Marienthal" (PDF). dornpub.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  5. ^ "Press release". Berklee.edu. Archived from the original on November 20, 2010. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
  6. ^ "Biography". ericmarienthal.com. Archived from the original on May 28, 2010. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Yanow, Scott. "Eric Marienthal bio at". Allmusic. Retrieved August 1, 2010.
  8. ^ Kohlhaase, Bill (June 29, 1999). "Key of Gee". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  9. ^ Georges, Steve (August 28, 2013). "Eye on O.C.: Jazzman jams with his friends and High Hopes benefits from the camaraderie". ocregister.com. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  10. ^ Russell, Stefene (February 13, 2013). "Grammy Award-Winning Sax Player Eric Marienthal Headlines Friday's Autumn Hill Jazz Festival at the Sheldon". stlmag.com. Retrieved December 12, 2013.
  11. ^ "It's Love – Eric Marienthal". allmusic.com. Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  12. ^ "Retro-Revival Modern Line NEW MODEL "Eric Marienthal Special" Alto Sax Mouthpiece .85". iReedMan's Retro-Revival Saxophone Mouthpieces. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  13. ^ "Retro-Revival "Eric Marienthal Special" Our Newest Work of Mouthpiece Art!". iReedMan's Retro-Revival Saxophone Mouthpieces. Archived from the original on December 18, 2021. Retrieved May 21, 2020.
  14. ^ "Eric's Equipment". ericmarienthal.com. Retrieved December 13, 2013.

External links[edit]