Eric Leeds

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Eric Leeds

Ericleeds bio.jpg

Artist details

Birth Name: Eric Jeffrey Leeds
Date Of Birth: 19 January 1952,
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Occupation: Tenor Saxophone & Flute player
Activity with Prince: 1984-1989, 1994-1996, 2002-2003
Live Performances
First live appearance w/Prince:
Performed regularly on tour:
Performed occasionally in shows:
1986, 1987, 1988, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2002, 2003
13 August 1985: Minneapolis, MN, USA - First Avenue
1987: support on the Sign O’ The Times Tour (Europe)
With Prince:
With Prince’s Associates:

Billboard 200 peak position 62 (22 weeks)
Billboard R&B Albums: 17 (30 weeks)

Billboard 200 peak position 107 (11 weeks)
Billboard R&B Albums: 25 (12 weeks)

Self Productions with Prince:
  • 1991 Eric Leeds: Times Squared (Paisley Park)
  • 1993 Eric Leeds: Things Left Unsaid (Paisley Park)

Without Prince

  • 2000 Eric Leeds: Now & Again (Nouveau)

Eric Leeds is an American saxophone player who contributed to various Prince projects from 1985 to 2003. His older brother is Alan Leeds, long time Prince tour manager and later president of Paisley Park records.

Eric Leeds is currently member of the reformed The Family band under their new name: fDeluxe.

Musical Career
Early Life

Eric Leeds was born Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where his father worked as a salesman. The Leeds family moved to Richmond, VA, where they lived from 1959 until 1966, when they moved to Pittsburgh, PA.

In 1964 The family moved to Pittsburgh, PA, where Leeds went to junior high school before attending Duquesne University, where he studied saxophone with Eric Kloss, a prodigy that came out of Pittsburgh, whom Eric regarded his mentor.

In 1982 Leeds moved to Atlanta, GA.

Early Musical Career

In Pittsburgh Leeds did some freelance jazz gigs and was in a band called King Solomon. His next band was called On The Corner and besides Eric Leeds on sax it had 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.

In 1977 the band continued as Takin’ Names. They played progressive jazz-fusion.

Work With Prince

Eric Leeds was introduced to Prince in 1984 by his brother Alan Leeds who was working for Prince as a tour manager since early April 1983.

Alan had mentioned Eric to Prince and played him cassettes of his playing, so when Prince was looking for a saxophone player to play on The Family project he asked Alan to call his brother and ask if he was interested in flying from Atlanta, where Eric was living at the time, to Minneapolis to do some recordings. Eric was reluctant at first as he wasn’t a fan of Prince’s particularly – or even that much aware of his music, so it took him a few weeks to decide he would try his luck, thinking at least he would get a couple of session cheques out of it.

The first songs Leeds worked on with Prince were songs for The Family in early July 1984; High Fashion, Mutiny, Susannah’s Pajamas and Desire. the other songs on the The Family album also had Leeds' saxophone overdubbed.

From February 1985 onwards Leeds joined The Revolution for the last leg of the Purple Rain Tour and he remained an important collaborator for Prince until 1989, both in studio and with live performances.

Since 1989 Leeds worked less and less in the studio with Prince, but he had a short comeback, being part of the band during some of the television and live appearances in 1995 and 1996. In 2002 Eric joined The NPG (as a replacement for on-and-off NPG saxophonist Maceo Parker for the last leg of the One Nite Alone... Tour in Europe and Japan. In early 2003 he also recorded his sax parts on the N.E.W.S. album.

After Working With Prince
Current Work
Additional Information

See also Trivia

Matthew Larson All Biographies Prince Biography David Leonard