Pianist Eric Plaks was born in Princeton, New Jersey, and attended Harvard College. A student of the entire history of jazz, from the most traditional forms to the most modern styles of creative improvisation, Eric began his performing and recording career when he moved to Harlem in 1996. He has appeared in various formats around New York City and the wider world, including gigs and steady engagements in venues such as Small’s, Joe’s Pub, Little Branch, The Garage, Silvana, The Shrine, The I-Beam, ABC No Rio, The Firehouse Space, and Cornelia Street Cafe, as well as appearances in London, Paris, Moscow, Jerusalem, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic. In 2010, after a successful decade-and-a-half of performing and recording with small groups, Eric and his long-time associate, drummer Jon Panikkar, created the 14-piece Shrine Big Band, one of the city’s top collectives of improvisers, composers, and arrangers. This ensemble appears monthly as the house band at The Shrine in Harlem. In recent years, Eric has also performed frequently with small improvising groups, often in duo or trio format, as he continues to explore the sonic possibilities of the piano and the outer limits of improvised music.
Eric’s published recordings include: The Witch Man (2003), Rooftop Reveries (2004), Eric Plaks with Strings (2007), Some Ones (2008 – on Cadence Records), The Eric Plaks Five Live at Bronx Community College (2009 – on CIMPol Records), and with The Shrine Big Band, Swamp Music (2012).