Jazz and NASCAR!!!
No, Dale Jarrett isn't recording a duets album with Shirley Horn, and no Joey DeFrancesco isn't planning on taking the #5 car into the pits for 4 fresh tires and another round of wedge, but jazz and NASCAR, do apparently go together. At least according THIS press release. I can only imagine the conversation between Eric and his booking agent -
Agent - "So Eric, I've got a big gig out west for you."
Eric Lewis - "Cool, where is it?"
Agent - "Northern California"
Eric - "A week headlining Yoshis?"
Agent - "No."
Eric Lewis - "The Monterey Jazz Festival?"
Agent - "We tried, but no."
Eric - "Well, I hear Healdsburg has a nice festival, how about that?"
Agent - "You're getting warmer."
Eric - "Ok, I get it, a winery in Napa, Sonoma, or somewhere up there?"
Agent - "You've almost got it. Let me give you a hint - vroom vroom."
Eric - "Aw, you mean I'm gonna be playing with Frank Lacy? I hate when he does that motorcycle thing with his trombone, he thinks it so cool."
Agent - "NO! Not Frank Lacy! Try Jeff Gordon! - You're playing NASCAR!"
Here's the actual press release
SONOMA, Calif. - Renowned jazz pianist Eric Lewis has been selected to perform the national anthem at the Dodge/Save Mart 350 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at Infineon Raceway on Sunday, June 26.
Lewis, a native of New Jersey, has put together quite a career at the young age of 32, having played for President Clinton at the 1996 Democratic National Convention. He has also played for the world-famous Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis.
"Since I was a child, zooming along in cars has always been a great thrill for me. I am very much anticipating being out there amongst all of these great NASCAR drivers," said Lewis, who will play the national anthem on his piano. The race is set to take the green flag at 12:30 p.m. on FOX (PST).
Lewis was crowned a piano master in 1999 when he won the prestigious Thelonius Monk International Piano Competition, which led to an invitation to join the band of one-time John Coltrane collaborator Elvin Jones. Lewis has also played with Cassandra Wilson and Roy Hargrove, among others.
In addition, Lewis has provided the score for the movie "A Trumpet at the Wall of Jericho," which aired nationally on PBS in 2004. He also appeared in the film "The Caveman's Valentine" in 2001 with legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson.
Lewis has recently ventured out on his own to record his own music, in addition to film and television projects (www.ericlewisgroove.com).