From Wynton to Weezy:<br />
ELEW Fuses Musical Genres to Create 'Rockjazz'

From Wynton to Weezy:
ELEW Fuses Musical Genres to Create 'Rockjazz'

The New Jersey native breaks barriers and opens doors with a signature style that has found him working with both Jazz and Rap royalty

by Eugene Holley, Jr., September 21, 2012

From Wynton to Weezy:<br />
ELEW Fuses Musical Genres to Create 'Rockjazz'

Eric Robert Lewis, better known by his stage name ELEW

Photo courtesy of Alan Kaplan

pianist Vijay Iyer released his version of the before you did. What attracted you to the song?

ELEW: Every piano player that wants to play anything in the pop world is always faced with the challenge of playing too many notes. “Human Nature” is one of those rarities that has already has a very “notey” structure built into it … The riff sounds like a Scott Joplin ragtime tune, or a Latin montuno

EBONY: And also the French Impressionists…

ELEW: Right! Certainly Debussy...So it’s rare to find a piece of music that’s a hit in the pop world that has that kind of ornamentation, especially in the R&B vein. So that’s my attraction to “Human Nature,” in terms of a piano player’s perspective. The other thing is that Vijay Iyer had done it. But the way that he did it was diluted by all of the metrical stuff. He did it in a different meter. He added and took away a lot of things. My Rockjazz concept has to do with being traditional, in the sense that I want to be able to hear the melody and the song and sing along with it. I loved the song, and I wanted to do a doper version than Vijay’s.

EBONY: You also plan to make a video for “Human Nature.”  How is video important to your Rockjazz concept?

ELEW: People used to have rotary phones. And then cell phones come along. We used to have record stores, and then iTunes came along. There are technologies that are part of doing business, today. And having a video is one of them. Rockjazz is the way that I managed to connect with an audience.  And video allows me to further connect with my audience. 

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