Sense of Hope
With his first solo release, A Sense of Hope, Rochester saxophonist Erik Nielsen has melded musical genres drawn from his love of soul, gospel, blues, R&B, and jazz into a kaleidoscope of smooth rhythms, lush phrases, and thought-provoking melodies. The album was recorded in three different studios, from Spring Hills and Nashville, Tennessee to Rochester, New York. Guest appearances include top Nashville session's bassist, Lanice Morrison, currently touring with Michael McDonald; former Poor Old Lou drummer and artist in his own right, Jesse Sprinkle, and noted studio trumpeter Paul Gaspar. "With guys like this playing on this project, anyone in their right mind would be excited," says Erik. "I thank God every night at the opportunity He has afforded me to play alongside such accomplished and highly esteemed musicians as these." Erik's love of music started at the tender early age of three, when he and his five-year old sister recorded the vocals to "Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep" onto a mono cassette tape recorder. While their rendition never made it beyond the family dinner table, the experience wet Erik's musical appetite. By the time he was 10, Erik had begun playing the sax in the elementary school band when an aunt supplied him with a saxophone that had been sitting around gathering dust. It was at this time that Erik began to understand that there was more to music than just playing notes. "To be honest, I never enjoyed playing the sax, or music for that matter, until I was a junior in high school, when my friends and myself would go in early, and jam before concert band rehearsals," says Erik. "I knew I enjoyed playing music, but never made the connection between playing the sax and creating music with my sax." It was after hearing David Sanborn's "Summer" in college jazz ensemble that Erik says, "I realized how powerful and influential the sax could be in contemporary music." During his years at Nazareth College in Rochester, Erik was involved in various party bands and original bands, cutting his teeth in the local music scene, and gaining experience writing his own material. "One of the significant things I learned from my education at Nazareth and Stanley Gaulke, my saxophone professor, was the importance of phrasing, no matter the genre of music. Without phrasing and emotion, it just becomes notes on paper. Music is about feeling and expression of emotion, and I try to convey that emotion in my playing." While the sax was Erik's passion, it was his spiritual awakening that had the greatest impact on his life, and eventually his music. "I reached a point in my life where I started to question my own existence, and what my purpose in life was," says Erik. "I had more questions than answers, and it seemed the more I tried to figure things out on my own, the more miserable I became." Erik came to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the fall of 1998, and since that time has dedicated his talents to serving the ultimate musician and composer, Jesus Christ. Armed with a renewed artistic and spiritual passion, Erik's musical career has taken off. He's performed with artists like Paul Boutte, Alvin Parris III, Jimmie Highsmith Jr., Paul Gaspar, and Nathan Salter. He's participated in nationally-recognized conventions The Joshua Revolution, Arts Reconnect, and Kingdom Bound Ministries. In addition, Erik's made guest appearances on several recording projects ranging in style from retro 1950's girl band music, to gospel-influenced, praise and worship, acoustic folk to Latin and salsa. Erik has also showcased his talents to legendary producers, Roscoe Hamby and Derrick "DOA" Allen of Roc Diamond Records. "I've always heard it said, and I now believe, that the key to being a successful musician is to diversify yourself by getting involved in various genres of music, constantly expanding your musical repertoire through experience," Erik explains. "It is my desire that this record touches the lives of those who listen to it, and through the music, lives are transformed forever." For More Information, Contact: Erik Nielsen email: firstname.lastname@example.org.