Rock/jazz pianist ELEW (Eric Lewis) held court with his mighty piano in the studio hall of Halcyon House Dec. 13 to benefit Sasha Bruce Youthwork, which provides shelter and counseling to runaway, abused and neglected children and their families. The D.C. non-profit – which began in Georgetown’s Christ Church – was enlarged by donations from Evangeline Bruce, wife of Ambassador David Bruce, following the death of their daughter Sasha who had helped troubled youths as a volunteer.
Jasmine Williams, a Sasha Bruce success story, saved from her abusive stepfather, told the crowd in John Dreyfuss’s studio that she was preparing to go to college. ELEW said he felt at home at the Sasha Bruce house. Even Mayor Vincent Gray showed up to praise the group and its founder, Deborah Shore: “We share the same values.”
Then, it was time for the main event. The expressive, high-energy ELEW pounded the ivories and plucked the cords with such tunes as “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Fireflies,” “Paint It Black” and more, along with his own “Thanksgiving” – and some Christmas riffs, too. (ELEW’s new album debuts soon.)