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Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.
Eric Ajaye was born in Brooklyn, New York and moved to Los Angeles, California with his family at an early age. He studied violin for nine years before switching to bass. During one of those nine years Eric was selected to be a member of the District Orchestra in the Los Angeles City School District. In 1965, Eric was chosen to be in a nationwide television commercial for One A Day Vitamins playing the violin.
In college Eric studied bass under Buell Neidlinger at California Institute of the Arts where he was on scholarship. While in Los Angeles, Eric's music career included many aspects of the music industry, such as recording albums with artists from Chris Thomas, Osamu Kitajima, Bill Cosby to Chaka Khan, television and film soundtracks, and numerous television and radio commercials. He was a member of the rhythm section in those situations and also played in the orchestra double bass sections.
Eric has toured Asia, throughout Europe, Russia, performing at the Kremiln in Russia, Latvia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Central and South America and has been a member of the bands of Freddie Hubbard, Taj Mahal, Bennie Maupin, The Jazz Tap Ensemble, The Doug MacLeod Band, the Pointer Sisters and Barry White. He has also backed artists Nancy Wilson, Gary Bartz, Bob Mintzer, Franklyn Ajaye, George Howard, Sonny Stitt, Joe Williams, Bill Cunliffe, Christian Howes, Della Reese, Gregory Hines, Savion Glover, Harold Nicholas, Todd Cochran (Bayete), Pee Wee Crayton, Joe Louis Walker and many more.
Eric moved to Australia in 1998 and has work with many of Australia's top jazz artists accompanying them at jazz festivals, in jazz clubs and on recording sessions. Some of those artists are Vince Jones, Bob Sedergreen, James Morrison, Paul Grabowsky, Andrea Keller, Matt McMahon, Simon Barker, Jamie Oehlers, Sandy Evans, Bernie McGann, Peter Petrucci, Geoff Page (Poet), Spike Mason, the Coffin Brothers, Michael Azzopardi, Chris Thwaite, the Mike Price Trio (with guitarist Mike Price and drummer Colin Hoorweg), the Time Within duo (with pianist Mike Nelson), Lucky Oceans, Miroslav Bukovsky, David Jones, Damien Slingsby, Kevin Hunt, Michelle Nicole, Christine Sullivan, Sandie White, Don Burrows, Errol Buddle, Ted Vining, Sam Keevers, Mark Sutton, John Mackey, Edward York, Carl Mackey, Steve Richards, Niels Rosendahl, Adrian Cunningham, Bob Barnard and Johnny Nicol.
Eric formed the Straight Up! (Trio) which recorded and released their debut album "The Flow" in 2006. Their 2nd album Straight Up! (Trio) "Another Year" was released in 2007. The band featuring Eric Ajaye (bass), Michael Azzopardi (piano/synth) and Chris Thwaite (drums), received excellent reviews and responses from critics and audiences who attended their performances at concerts and jazz festivals. The band performed at The Manly Jazz Festival, The Thredbo Jazz Festival, The North Coast Jazz Festival, the Australia Day Concert at the National Botanic Gardens, The Sound Lounge/Seymour Center (Sydney), The Jazz Basement (Wodonga), The Merimbula Jazz Festival, The Moruya River of Art Festival, The Moruya Jazz Festival, Lanyon Winter Concert Series, The Lanyon Under the Elms Concert Series, and The God's Cafe Jazz Series.
*Eric next formed the quartet Vertical. The bandmembers were: Eric Ajaye / basses, Chris Thwaite / drums, Paul Dal Broi / piano-keyboards, and Niels Rosendahl / saxophones and wind instruments. The band performed concerts regularly at jazz festivals and jazz venues.
Eric also formed his Trio, Phingerprintz.
*In 2010 Eric was a curator, alongside Caroline Stacey and Mike Price, of the Capitol Jazz Project. This was an international jazz festival in Canberra. Eric was in charge of the acts that came from the US. Such as:
•Legendary jazz multi-reed man, saxophonist and bass clarinettist Bennie Maupin, (member of Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock and Lee Morgan bands).
•Grammy award winning pianist and composer Bill Cunliffe, jazz drummer and educator/author John Riley.
*In 2018 Eric Ajaye established the Jazz Haus Canberra. This was a dinner jazz venue modeled after NY style jazz supper clubs. The Jazz Haus Canberra featured the top National Jazz musicians of Australia and interest from international artists from Europe, North America and Canada was building before Covid-19 forced it to shut down.
*In 2003 Eric hosted the Summer Jazz Series Concerts at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. 4 consecutive weekend concerts featuring top jazz artists from across Australia.
-From February 2000 - 2013 Eric was a senior lecturer and member of the Jazz Department faculty at The Australian National University-School of Music, teaching double bass/electric bass, aural and improvisation. He created and ran a "Styles for the Studio" class and directed the Commercial Ensemble, which performed at various Australian jazz festivals.
© 2021 ERIC AJAYE
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