Famed pianist ELEW, a favorite of President Barack Obama, played an ultra-exclusive concert for a few lucky invited guests in Miami.
The jazz pianist, whose real name is Eric Lewis, put on a high-energy performance in the $16 million penthouse at 1 Hotel & Homes South Beach on Tuesday night.
Guests such as Sonic Youth rocker Kim Gordon and novelist Christopher Bollen were treated to a passionate private performance that included jazz versions of “Mr. Brightside,” “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Ain’t Nobody.”
ELEW’s energetic style of “rock jazz” has helped him amass big-name fans including Leo DiCaprio, Donna Karan and Hugh Jackman, plus he has performed at the White House for the Obamas.
Surrounded by works by artist Daniel Mazzone, he told the crowd, “I came here to get down, I came here to party. I invite you to vibe with me, I feel all the artworks around me. Get into it. Celebrate life … I will give you my blood, that’s how I feel about performing, but I don’t want the blood to come too soon.”
ELEW AND TO THE REPUBLIC Released September 9, 2016
Sometimes it takes an outsider to show the current pecking order what is amiss. There are revelations to be heard by those who distance themselves from their native tongue to find a place for themselves. A return can then be revelatory to both the outsider and the republic, as it stands….
February 11, 2016 by PATRICK JARENWATTANANON • Eric Lewis’ career has circulated both in and out of what he calls “the jazz republic.” Performing under his given name in the 1990s, Lewis was a powerful up-and-coming pianist who toured in the bands of Wynton Marsalis and Elvin Jones. As his career progressed — or failed to, from a business perspective — he found that a lot of contemporary rock music also spoke to him deeply. So, performing under the name ELEW, he devised a new theatrical, high-energy method of solo piano he called rockjazz, and his cover songs took him to TED Conferences, national tours, America’s Got Talent, celebrity gatherings and the White House. But he never left the late-night straight-ahead jam sessions: In fact, he’s just recorded And To The Republic, a return to the jazz trio format featuring some major players.Jazz Night In America follows ELEW to the studio, and to Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola within Jazz at Lincoln Center, where his burning band includes Reginald Veal on bass and Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums.
ELEW’s collaboration with Lil Wayne on “IANAHB,” the opening track on the rapper’s I Am Not A Human Being II, has been getting rave reviews from a variety of influential music magazines and blogs. Below are just a few of our favorite quotes from the coverage.
XXL: “Wayne’s always been great at opening his album, and the opener here certainly sets a tone. Over some experimental improvisation by jazz pianist Eric Robert Lewis, Wayne stretches out with some rhyme calisthenics and snarls his way through the nearly 6-minute track. This is Wayne at his most innovative, going heads-up with an equally unique musician and working off one another like jazz improvisers.”
Spin: “Opening track ‘IANAHB’is the highlight and sole true head-spinner, the lone moment to reach those dizzying Wayne-we-all-loved heights. As quasi-classy piano twinkles, he mind-melds with an increasingly avant-garde plink-plonk figure…It’s a creative take on the does-a-lot-of-drugs, bitches-ain’t-shit hip-hop upon which he’s increasingly reliant.”
Consequence Of Sound: “‘IANAHB’ is a striking five minutes of Weezy riffing verse after verse to some impressive piano soloing by producer/pianist ELEW…The track is an unexpected blitz, and one of his more memorable recordings to date.”
Hit The Floor: “Kicking off the set, the intro and title track doesn’t just perfectly represent the album, but is also the definitive Lil Wayne experience. Jazz pianist ELEW, is credited as producer, but should be given a larger credit of collaborator. He creates a moody instrumental that builds and twists, with Wayne confidently striding in at every turn. This track hints at the next level.”
This week, ELEW will be shooting a music video for his original composition ‘Complexions’ from ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 2. Since the song was originally inspired by his prior collaborations with Complexions Contemporary Ballet, he has invited nine members of the renowned dance company to appear in the video. ELEW is the official composer-in-residence for CCB, and he and Choreographer/Co-Founder Dwight Rhoden are currently working on their third collaborative piece. Stay tuned for more information on these developments.
ELEW is going to be celebrating this weekend’s Presidential Inauguration with two special performances at his favorite
DC haunt: HR-57. The Washington City Paper has a special feature about the upcoming performance: read it here.
ELEW’s continued affiliation with Summit Series has been one of shared respect and admiration, and the bond between ELEW and Summit has only deepened since he began 2012 with a performance at Summit Basecamp in Squaw Valley, CA. Now, ELEW’s first performance(s) of 2013 will taking place this month at the Entrepreneur Camp at Summit Eden, Summit’s new home on Powder Mountain in Eden, UT. ELEW is proud to be a part of this exciting tradition-in-the-making—what better way to inaugurate each New Year than with the great minds at Summit Series?
Last week, ELEW journeyed to Miami for his second annual appearance at the Art Basel Festival. In addition to three late night performances at the Delano South Beach Hotel (one of which was attended by Kanye West), he also participated in this year’s edition of Pop Up Piano Miami, which consisted of a series of pop-up performances by different pianists at eight pianos from Steinway & Sons Miami strategically placed across the Wynwood, Midtown Miami, Downtown Miami, and Design District areas. Read Miami.com’s coverage of ELEW’s Art Basel trip at this link.