Elew (eric Lewis)

Eric Lewis was once a talented, up-and coming jazz pianist. He was also a sideman for Wynton Marsilis and Elvin Jones and the winner of 1999 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition. He had an epiphany a decade later in his career. He didn’t feel the songs were speaking to him in the way he desired. They were part of traditional jazz, but not his emotional repertoire. There were also songs from contemporary rock that meant the world to Lewis. Lewis surveyed the landscape and drew the curtains to reemerge as ELEW. He is a pioneering artist who combines virtuosic skills on the grand piano and an unparalleled openness to rock and pop music. Jazz pianists have always been able to interpret popular songs. Art Tatum did. Bud Powell did. However, jazz grew apart from rock and roll at some point. ELEW has merged the two and created a new genre called rockjazz. Over two albums, ELEW has interpreted, reenergized and reenergized songs from Coldplay, Nirvana and Radiohead, Radiohead and The Bravery. The choice of material is just one aspect of rockjazz. ELEW approaches the grand piano in the same way a traditional rock band front man would treat the guitar. They use a physical style that involves entering the instrument to pluck its strings. He is theatrical onstage and stands to play, even wearing special vambraces for his forearms. ELEW has also collaborated with a number of artists, in addition to its groundbreaking performances and recordings. He teamed up with Lil Wayne, the platinum-selling rapper, to provide the piano accompaniment for “IANAHB,” which is the opening track of Lil Wayne’s 2013 album, “I Am Not a Human Being II.” Complexions Contemporary Ballet Co Artistic Directors/Founders Dwight Rhoden, and Desmond Richardson announced a five year partnership with ELEW, naming him Composer-in-Residence at CCB. The partnership will produce a new work each year through 2017. The first fruits of this collaboration were presented at Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s New York Season at Joyce Theater in November 2012. His growing career as a DJ is perhaps the most significant development in ELEW’s artistic evolution. ELEW can present songs simultaneously using technology. This is yet another unique hybrid. The ingredients aren’t rock and jazz but vinyl and ivory. ELEW is a well-known band thanks to his recordings and performances. He also has a devotion to jazz history and the importance to redirect it. He has performed for Google, Fendi and Disney as well as Mercedes Benz. Donna Karan featured his music in her iPhone app. ELEW even took rockjazz to The White House where he performed for Michelle Obama and Barack Obama in the East Room. http://elewrockjazz.com

Leave a Comment