A modern day pop artist and musical revolutionary, piano iconoclast ELEW is making a substantial impression on the music world with a thunderous new style of playing: an inspired melding of ragtime, rock and pop that he calls Rockjazz.
ELEW has toured the world, recorded, and performed continuously with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Elvin Jones, Roy Hargrove, and Cassandra Wilson, among others. He won the 1999 Thelonious Monk International Piano Competition, his mesmerizing piano theatrics even then hinting at the new musical paradigm he would one day create.
Now, in the jazz tradition of interpreting popular tunes of the day, much like Art Tatum and John Coltrane, ELEW has turned to rock, combining a guitarist’s approach to the piano with an explosively physical style of playing that would be at home in any arena. An imposing force even before he stands (not sits) behind the piano, ELEW is known for playing his instrument like an athlete plays a sport—going inside the instrument, plucking directly at the strings, and testing the limits of both his body and his mind.
As he continues to gain notoriety with his blistering renditions of infectious rock and pop anthems by Coldplay, The Killers, Nirvana, and more, he has broken free of the rigidly defined boundaries of the traditional jazz world and ultimately given birth to something wholly original. His relentless innovation and disregard for the musical status quo has attracted the rapt attention and following of today’s biggest stars and companies, including Josh Groban, Dave Matthews, Naomi Campbell, Pete Yorn, Google, Fendi, Dolce and Gabbana, Mercedes Benz, and even the White House.
Last year, ELEW toured with Josh Groban as a featured performer on the superstar vocalist’s “Straight To You” Tour: sixty shows at Massive Arenas throughout the entirety of the United States and Canada. He has captivated thousands of people at some of the biggest stadiums in the United States: just him, a grand piano, and his trademark armor.
Complexions Contemporary Ballet Co-Artistic Directors/Founders Dwight Rhoden and Desmond Richardson have announced that ELEW has been named Composer in Residence at CCB for the next 5 years. This partnership will present a new work every year through 2017 and will only serve to deepen the superb creative chemistry evident in their first collaboration: last year’s What Come, Thereafter. In his first action as Composer in Residence, ELEW will once again join with Resident Choreographer Dwight Rhoden to produce a second collaborative new work to premiere Nov 13 – 25th 2012 – at Complexions Contemporary Ballet’s New York Season at the Joyce Theater.
ELEW’s new record, ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 2, continues the grand tradition established by his debut album three years ago, showcasing twelve inimitable covers of songs by artists as varied as Michael Jackson, U2, and Joe Henderson, as well as two original compositions. A hypnotic alchemical stew of disparate musical styles and artistic influences, Rockjazz Vol. 2 blends multiple piano inspirations to form an album that is cohesive, infectious, and like nothing else on the musical landscape. The album was released on August 28, 2012 on iTunes, Amazon, Android Marketplace and all other major digital retailers.