ONE SHOW ONLY 7:00PM. Eric Robert Lewis (born May 13, 1973), popularly known as ELEW, is an American jazz pianist who has found cross-over success playing rock and pop music. He is known for his unconventional and physical playing style, which eschews a piano bench and includes reaching inside the piano lid to pull at the strings directly, as well as the creation that he calls “Rockjazz”, a genre that “takes the improvisational aspect of jazz and ‘threads it through the eye of the needle of rock.”
Lewis began his career as a jazz purist, playing as a sideman for jazz artists like Wynton Marsalis, Cassandra Wilson, Elvin Jones, Jon Hendricks, and Roy Hargrove as well as performing as a member of the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra. However, he eventually became interested in rock music and embarked on a solo career as a crossover musician, quickly gaining recognition for his instrumental “Rockjazz” piano covers of mainstream rock hits like The Rolling Stones‘ “Paint It, Black” and The Killers‘ “Mr. Brightside“. He released his first album of instrumental covers, entitled ELEW Rockjazz Vol. 1, on his own label, Ninjazz Entertainment, in March 2010.
Lewis was born in Camden, New Jersey in 1973, where he studied piano as a child. He graduated from Overbrook High School in 1991 and then received a Full Merit Scholarship to the Manhattan School of Music, where he graduated on the Deans List in 1995.