Bio of Eric Revis

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Eric Revis boasts “a huge sound, unshakable rhythmic confidence and a penchant for cohesive, logical baselines,” writes Ted Panken in DownBeat. “But he is also one of jazz’s relativists, interested in importing other sounds and forms and rhythms,” adds The New York Times.

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Eric bought his first electric bass at age 14. He began as a self-taught hobbyist; it wasn’t until he was a year into a bachelor’s degree that he decided to pursue a career in music. Relocating to Texas, he began working a gig six nights a week with a group of musicians who introduced him to jazz.

Around this time, Eric switched to acoustic bass. He met Delfeayo Marsalis soon afterwards, who recommended that the young bassist enroll in the jazz program at The University of New Orleans, which was helmed by Delfeayo’s father, Ellis Marsalis. While in New Orleans, Eric honed his skills on the bandstand with the likes of Brian Blade, Nicholas Payton, Mark Turner, and Greg Tardy.

Eric’s first long-term professional association came with an invitation to join the band of Betty Carter in 1994. It also resulted in his move to New York in the same year, where the bassist apprenticed with Billy Harper, Louis Hayes, Lionel Hampton, and Russell Gunn, and formulated new ideas with peers like Sherman Irby, James Hurt, and J.D. Allen. Within a few years, he was recruited by the saxophonist Branford Marsalis, with whom Eric has collaborated ever since. The bassist appears on eight of Marsalis’ critically acclaimed albums – one of them, Contemporary Jazz (Columbia), received a GRAMMY award – as well as recordings by Steve Coleman, Jeff “Tain” Watts, Kurt Rosenwinkel, and others.

Commenting on Eric’s debut album, Tales of the Stuttering Mime, JazzTimes notes, “Eric stretches the jazz fabric without ripping it apart. The results are a greatly varied…[a] thoroughly rewarding and entertaining set.” The effort features performances of ten of Eric’s original compositions by a band including the saxophonist JD Allen, the pianist Orrin Evans, the trumpeter Duane Eubanks, and the drummer Jeff “Tain” Watts, and was voted the Best Debut of 2004 by AllAboutJazz. Speaking about the album, Eric says: “I strive to be as honest as possible to my perspective and actualize that. This is about being comfortable in my own skin and coming into my own, musically. Taking myself, my life, and music, [and] refining it to get to the essence of what’s important.”

In 2009, Eric released his sophomore effort, Laughter’s Necklace of Tears, which finds him in the company of the pianist Orrin Evans (who doubles here on melodica), the saxophonists Stacy Dillard and John Ellis, the drummer Gerald Cleaver, the guitarist Oz Noy, and the trumpeter Freddie Hendrix.

Eric is also a member of TARBABY, a group which he co-leads with the pianist Orrin Evans and the drummer Nasheet Waits, and which is frequently expanded to include other like-minded collaborators.


In August 2009 Revis asked Ken Vandermark (reeds), Jason Moran (piano) and Nasheet Waits (drums) to join him for two nights at the Jazz Gallery in New York. Two years later this quartet, called Eric Revis’ 11:11, recorded Parallax, consisting of compositions of Revis, Vandermark and others, and some collective improvisations and bass solo’s.


Revis has another forthcoming Clean Feed release: City of Asylum with Kris Davis (piano) and Andrew Cyrille (drums). After playing with Cyrille at the Village Vanguard in October 2011, Revis decided to ask him for a recording, adding the young pianist Kris Davis, whose playing he had been admiring for a while. He thought it would be an interesting meeting of minds – which it proved to be. Their first meeting as a trio took place at a studio in New York, to record ‘City of Asylum’. A two night run at the Jazz Gallery followed later that year.

Revis also is the leader of a trio with Darius Jones (sax) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).
Eric Revis also is the leader of a trio with Darius Jones (sax) and Gerald Cleaver (drums).

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