Eric Essix


Youngest Jazz Hall of Famer

Eric Essix, began his musical experiences hearing the Beatles on Ed Sullivan and singing gospel in the church choir.  His grandfather bought him his first guitar and amplifier at the age of 10, which he used to teach himself to play by listening to LPs by Stevie Wonder, The Jackson 5, and Al Green.  His first exposure to jazz guitar was Wes Montgomery’s, California Dreaming album from the 1960’s.

 Eric got his first break into the music industry in 1989 when his self-produced album, First Impressions,was picked up for national release by Los Angeles jazz label, Nova Records. Eric has gone on to record a total of 19 records as a solo artist with his 20th set for release in January 2013 entitled, “4”.

 Eric has had a number of chart topping recordings, his latest being the song Shuttleworth Drive from his 2009 “Birmingham” CD, which was the #1 Independent Jazz Recording for 7 consecutive weeks nationwide on jazz radio.  His touring schedule has taken him around the world from India, Ukraine, Hungary and Italy to Mexico, St. Lucia, Granada, and Barbados.  Eric has toured extensively with Peabo Bryson, Ronnie Laws, Jeff Lorber, Alex Bugnon, Bob Baldwin, and many others.

 In 1991, Eric was the youngest person ever inducted into the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame and is an Alabama Music Hall of Fame Achiever.  He has won numerous Best Jazz Musician Awards from Birmingham Magazine, Birmingham Weekly, Black and White Magazine, Boston Magazine and others.  He has been the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the Berklee College of Music and the Alabama State Council on the Arts.

 In addition to a full touring and recording schedule, Eric currently serves as Artist Coordinator and Program Consultant at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center and teaches music production at the Center’s Artplay facility at UAB.


Essix  released his 20th album in January 2013, which is a collection of Negro Spirituals, Civil Rights Movement March songs and original compositions to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the 16th Street Church bombing in Birmingham. For school performances he pulls together a group of professional musicians that perform pieces from the album. The concert lasts about one hour and includes both a spoken work element and a short film.  The focus of the concert is not on the tragedy or negative aspects of the event itself, but seeks to uplift, showing our progress and educating young people about the importance of the music that is a part of the fabric of this country.

Grades 6-12


Flexible - Most Weekdays


  • Berklee College of Music



P.O. BOX 2141



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