Eric Hanson is the Director of Booking at AB Artists in New York City. He has been involved in the business of live music since 1989 in capacities ranging from tour manager to manager and booking agent to talent buyer. His first agency, Steppin’ In Artist Development, represented Art Ensemble of Chicago, World Saxophone Quartet, Don Pullen, Nina Simone, David Murray, Sex Mob, Matthew Shipp, Stroke 9 and Steve Tibbetts.
Originally based in Brooklyn, NY., Steppin’ In made the move with him to New Haven, CT in 1993 while he earned a masters degree in African-American Studies from Yale University. Eric moved to San Francisco in 1996 and joined The Rosebud Agency in the management division, working with John Lee Hooker (whom he also tour managed), Robert Cray, Ben Harper, John Hammond, Duke Robillard, Loudon Wainwright III and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. During this time and for three more years, he continued running Steppin’ In on the West Coast.
He left Rosebud in February 1997 to run Steppin’ In full-time, adding management duties for drummer Leon Parker to his regular booking regiment. In January 2000, an agent position at Ted Kurland Associates in Boston opened up. Eric headed back east and joined the agency, bringing Nina Simone with him as a client.
Eric booked artists including Sonny Rollins, Ramsey Lewis, Chick Corea and Wynton Marsalis while at TKA and remained there through December 2006, when he left to start his second booking agency, Tree Lawn Artists. The agency’s clients included the Yellowjackets, Eliane Elias, the Jeff Lorber Fusion, Nicholas Payton, Groove Collective, Charlie Hunter, Chuck Brown and Marco Benevento. In 2010, he co-founded Masquerade Artist Management as a side pursuit with Dean Riopelle, owner of the Atlanta rock club The Masquerade, and managed Evan Dando of the Lemonheads during his reunion tour with former collaborator Juliana Hatfield.
At the end of 2011, Eric was named Artistic Director of Yoshi’s San Francisco. While there, he presented artists as diverse as Alan Parsons, Keith Sweat, Christopher Cross, Pat Metheny, Henry Rollins and Kenny G. Next he returned to Rosebud, this time as an agent, and booked artists including Trombone Shorty, Mavis Staples, Jim Lauderdale and BeauSoleil. When Rosebud closed at the end of 2013, Eric briefly served as Midwestern agent for Baylin Artists Management. Immediately prior to joining AB Artists, Eric was a European agent for International Music Network with clients Wayne Shorter, Brad Mehldau and Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
BA, French and English, Williams College, 1988; MA African-American Studies, Yale University, 1995