ELEW, Veal And Tain Pianist Eric Lewis did a turn in the crossover celebrity spotlight with his "rockjazz" method. But he pledges allegiance to "the jazz republic" in a new trio with Reginald Veal and Jeff Watts.
NPR logo

The ELEW Trio With Veal And Tain

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/466417030/466453056" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
The ELEW Trio With Veal And Tain

The ELEW Trio With Veal And Tain

The ELEW Trio With Veal And Tain

  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/466417030/466453056" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

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.