Eric Lewis aka ELEW is one of the scariest pianists around. Not in a bogeyman hiding in your closet or under your bed manner, but scary as in scary good. ELEW’s that dude that sits behind the piano during jam sessions, starts ripping and everyone else in the room is like, “Yeah, nope. I’m just gonna sit here and listen all night.” The 1999 Thelonious Monk Competition winner is back again with a brand new album slated to be released on September 9th entitled And To The Republic. Joined by bassist Reginald Veal and Jeff “Tain” Watts on the kit, ELEW’s forthcoming trio outing serves as a testament as to why ELEW is one of the illest musicians around period. Here to exemplify that sentiment is an original composition written by the man himself in tribute to another insanely dope pianist that’s aptly titled “Monk.”
Playing Monk tunes and penning tracks in tribute to the legendary musician always presents a tricky situation. Monk’s sound is so iconoclastic that often times the artist interpreting a Monk tune or composing a Monkesque piece ends up becoming — hate to say it guys — a cheap version of one of the most unique voices in music history. Adversely, not throwing in a few Monkism also presents the issue of leaving audience members asking, “Why even go down that route without the isms?”
But as previously stated, ELEW ain’t your average dude.
From top to bottom, “Monk” is the perfect hat tip to a legend without compromising an individual vision and/or voice. You know, the kind of thing that Monk himself would have done. Throw in Veal steadily holding down the fort and “Tain” doing what “Tain” does best, and there’s really very few — if any at all – reasons as to why of we shouldn’t have “Monk” on repeat from now until September 9th when And To The Repbulic drops. Look down below and peep the track.