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, testing the limits of his body, pushing through the pain and exhaustion….but never stopping.
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 shocked and angered the jazz world even as it has attracted the rapt attention and following of mainstream political, artistic, and cultural leaders from across the globe—including Donna Karan, Sting and Eric Schmidt of Google, among others—as well as netting the musician a historic performance at the White House itself.