The Eric Plaks New Trio Album, “Sun and Shadow,” Has Been Released on Cadence Jazz Records

I’m pleased to announce the official public release on January 10, 2018 of my new album on Cadence Jazz Records, a trio with two thrilling musicians, John Murchison (bass), and Leonid Galaganov (drums).  The sources of the music range from jazz to pure free improv and even, on one track, Shostakovich.  You can purchase it either digitally for $10 (on Bandcamp at the link below) or physically ($15 in the US, $20 Canada, $25 Elsewhere on Earth) by visiting my website –  You get a pdf of the CD liner notes with the digital purchase, so you’re not missing any info either way.  Thank you and enjoy!

The Eric Plaks – Aquiles Navarro album, “Windows to the World Beyond”, has been released on No Frills Records!

“Windows to the World Beyond” is a duet recording featuring Eric Plaks, piano, and Aquiles Navarro, trumpet and vocoder, recorded in December 2016 at Wombat Studios in Brooklyn.  Harlem artist Stephanie Mulvihill contributed the outstanding original art work for the CD.

This album sounds like nothing else out there, and certainly has a unique place in my catalog – please purchase a copy for yourself, so that you can enjoy the artistic collaboration Aquiles and I worked so hard on.  The price is $15.  Just click the Paypal button below and you will get the CD in a few days!

The Blaise Siwula – Eric Plaks Duet Album, “Time In,” Has Been Released on No Frills Records

Time In cover

“Time In” is a duet recording featuring Blaise Siwula saxophones and Eric Plaks piano, recorded in August 2015 at Wombat Studios in Brooklyn.  Blaise Dehon contributed the art work for the cover. 

I absolutely love this album  – please purchase a copy for yourself, so that you can enjoy some tremendous creative improvisations and support our ongoing artistic efforts.  The price is $15.  Just click on the link below and Paypal and I will take care of the rest!  Enjoy!

The Shrine Big Band, Swamp Music, Reviewed in New York City Jazz Record



I’m so excited to share my first (and hopefully not the last) review in print.  Donald Elfman of The New York City Jazz Record honored me and the big band that I am proud to lead, The Shrine Big Band, with a beautiful write-up on page 31 in the October, 2015 issue:

He starts off by writing, “It’s a dynamic and pleasing blast to the ear to hear a big band presenting structured yet free music and going from abandon to quietly dazzling with smart ensemble writing and first-rate solos”.  We hope that you will come and experience that “dynamic and pleasing blast to the ear” every first Sunday of the month at The Shrine.  Also, if you did not have a chance to do so when we released the album in 2013, please buy it now!  Here is a paypal button for you to purchase the album for $15.  Thanks so much for your support, it means so much to me and the other 13 members of the band!


Eric Plaks Quintet – “Some Ones” has been released on Cadence Records!


I’m very excited to announce the release of a recording that we have anticipated for a long time – Eric Plaks Quintet, Some Ones, on the renowned jazz label, Cadence Records.  Recorded back in 2008, this album features killing avant-garde saxophone work by “Godfather” Don Chapman and Alan Davis, along with the rhythm section that has been together since 1998 of me, Jon Panikkar, and Leco Reis.  It’s one of those rare opportunities to hear me well-recorded on a high quality grand piano, doing the music that we love.  We are excited for the release of this album and can’t wait to hear what you think of the music!  Please support our efforts, and buy the album by clicking here:


I’ll get your address through Paypal and get you your cd asap.  It’s that simple!

Welcome to the Eric Plaks website!

By clicking the links above, you can learn more about me, and how to contact me, shop for my albums and look at their covers, hear recent bootleg recordings of my 14-piece ensemble, The Shrine  Big Band, , check out awesome professional photos of the band, find out when and where we are playing next, and see YouTube videos of our recent performances.  Scroll down to read other posts about my music.  Enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Music,



Free Yourself in Jazz

It’s really hard to talk about myself as an artist.  I play music specifically because it says things that words can’t.  But after 19 years, there are a few markers that I guess you could call my “style”.

In – Out

Despite the best advice of my various (all outstanding and learned) piano teachers over the years, I never was able to restrain myself at the keyboard.  This led to a sort of “in-out” style – I hit the changes sometimes, but sometimes I improvise in a non-chordal free space that may be rhythmically or, à la Ornette, harmonically linked to the tune, or might have an entirely different type of sound/time organization.  Sometimes the rhythm section gets off on the Wobbly Rail with me, and sometimes they doggedly swing on.  Here, on a track from the 2012 Shrine Big Band album Swamp Music (see the Albums page of this website) is an example: a tune called “Cecilian Mafia” in homage to Cecil Taylor.  The first solo is Justin Wood on tenor sax, and piano is next.  Motoki Mihara (bass) and Jon Panikkar (drums) are the hard-as-nails rhythm section:

Then a 2014 bootleg recording with my Zoom microphone of a live gig at The Firehouse Space with a great quartet featuring my friend the saxophonist Yoni Kretzmer along with bassist Pascal Niggenkemper and drummer Ehran Elisha.

The Shrine Big Band

That powerhouse band you hear in gorgeous studio sound on the first post is my most recent, most favorite project, the latest in a series of collaborations between me and Jon dating back to 1996.  Appearing the first Sunday of every month at The Shrine,, a landmark of the new Harlem music scene at 2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd (between 133rd and 134th).  The five years (so far…) of our residency as the “house band” at The Shrine have been an incredibly fertile period of collaborative composition, arrangement, improvisation, and conducting, aka traffic-direction.  Although The Shrine Big Band is essentially a live band (each month’s performance is a not-to-be-missed experience!), we are really proud of our album – please consider buying it (see information on Albums page) now that you’ve heard the free sample above!


Pianist, composer, and co-founder of The Shrine Big Band. Welcome to my website! Please enjoy my posts to the right, and click on the menus above them to access all the cool features of this site!