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Eric Leeds

Grammy Winning Sax Man and member of the bands of Prince
Grammy winning saxophonist and multi-instrumentalist Eric Leeds reached the top of the record charts and toured the world as a solo artist, a session player, and as a member of the bands of the artist known as Prince. As a solo artist Eric Leeds released three albums: “Times Squared” on Paisley Park label in 1991 “, “Things Left Unsaid” which reached number 17 on the Billboard Top Contemporary Jazz Albums chart in 1993, and “Now & Again” on Warner Brothers in 2000. Leeds appeared on 17 Prince albums from 1987 to 2006 on tenor and baritone sax, flute, horn, and vocals. His recordings with Prince include the hit albums Parade, Sign O' The Times, Lovesexy, the Batman movie sound track (1989), Graffiti Bridge, Come, Emancipation, and Ultimate. Leeds received a Grammy for “Best R&B Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocal” for the number 1 hit single “Kiss” as a member Prince and the Revolution. Eric toured the world with Prince on the Purple Rain Tour, Parade Tour, Sign O' The Times Tour, the Lovesexy Tour, and the One Nite Alone.Tour. Leeds has also been a member of the recording acts The Family/ fDeluxe, and Mad House. As a sideman Leeds has recorded with George Benson, Mavis Staples, Jimmy McGriff, Jonny Lang. Carmen Electra, George Clinton, Chaka Khan, Sheila E., Billy Price and others,

Pittsburgh Jazz & R&B Roots

Eric Leeds was born on January 19, 1952 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. His family lived in Richmond, Va before settling in Pittsburgh in 1964 when Eric was a fourteen year old junior high student. He began playing alto sax at age 10. Eric majored in music at Duquense University in Pittsburgh where he studied with his mentor the hard bop saxophonist and Prestige recording artist Eric Kloss. Leeds often sat in with Kloss at the Stage Door jazz club in Oakland.

While in college Eric began his professional career playing freelance gigs in Pittsburgh before he formed his own band. Leeds and drummer H.B. Bennett meet in 1969 and formed the band Matrix. They played the legendary Crawford Grill, the Encore, and opened for Weather Report at the Syria Mosque on Dec. 8, 1972. They also opened shows for McCoy Tyner and Larry Coryell at Soldiers and Sailors Hall around 1974.

Following his work in Matrix Leeds performed with his Duquense music school friend trumpeter Matt Bliss in the the jazz funk band On the Corner. In September of 1997 On the Corner merged with former members of the King Solomon Band to form the Pittsburgh jazz fusion super group “Taking Nanes: with Bobby Wayne (vox), Marty Koffler (guitar), Jerry Melega (keyboards), Ray Russell (bass/vox), Howard 'H.B.' Bennett (drums), George Jones (percussion) and Matt Blistan (Atlanta Bliss) on trumpet. The played jazz fusion covers and originals written by Eric. They opened for Freddie Hubbard at Homestead’s Leona Theater in October of 1977.  Takin' Names was popular on the Pittsburgh club circuit playing the Evergreen Hotel, Someplace Else, the Boardwalk and other area clubs.

Leeds joined Billy Price’s Keystone Rhythm Band in 1979, after Taking Names broke up. He worked with Price for three years recording and touring clubs in the Northeast.. Leeds appeared on Price’s albums "Is It Over" (1980) and “They Found Me Guilty” that was released in 1983.

Persuaded by Matt Blistan, his former Takin' Names band mate, Eric Leeds moved to Atlanta in 1982.  

The Prince Summons Leads to the Court

Two Sisters
Eric with the Billy Price and the Keystone Rhythm Band