"ROCK IS THE CROONER AND SINGS DELICIOUSLY" - LOS ANGELES DAILY NEWS
Long-dedicated to upholding and aligning himself with the first class carriage and aesthetic of timeless entertainment, singer/actor/dancer Elijah Rock is carrying the blazing torch for the legacy of The Great American Songbook.
Gershwin For My Soul is the Cleveland-born baritone’s brand new critically acclaimed album. Jazziz Magazine marvels, “Rock brings both chops and emotion to his masculine yet sensitive delivery.” Rock travelled to Thailand to star and make his directorial debut in a gorgeous music video for the lead single/title track “Gershwin For My Soul” that is bringing a sensual touch of class to video outlets around the globe. Rock and his lovely co-star cavort in the sun-dappled climes and evening breezes of Phuket interspersed with Elijah crooning about the timeless grace of George and Ira Gershwin.
It is but one of 12 masterful performances on the album, produced and arranged by Grammy-winning keyboardist/musical director Kevin Toney (original member of The Blackbyrds) to bring the music of Gershwin into its rightful contemporary space, ably aided by bassist John B. Williams and drummer Greg Paul, plus guitarists Jacques Lesure and John Storie. The arrangements range from hiply syncopated updates on “Fascinating Rhythm” and “Our Love is Here to Stay” to Rock milking the rarely heard extended introduction to “How Long Has This Been Going On?” (before it falls like feathers into a soft brushed blues) and a version of the delightful “S’Wonderful” in a tender take that recalls the spirit of recently departed Al Jarreau. The album represents a full circle journey for Rock who started singing at 8 in church followed by his first Gershwin songs from “Porgy & Bess” at 16 at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
That connection is key to Elijah Rock, who revived the music of “Porgy & Bess” in a revolutionary new presentation that took what was originally written as an Opera then turned into a Broadway musical into a pure jazz adaptation. Utilizing the story as retold in the most recent Broadway book written by Suzan Lori Parks, Rock starred in the role of Porgy with a scaled down cast. This “Porgy & Bess” premiered at the 300-seat Ensemble Theater in Santa Barbara, California to raves from audiences bowled over by the intimacy, the freshness and Rock’s vocal and acting mastery. The Ventura Star hailed, "It’s Rock’s magical singing that makes him stand out, with extended lines and graceful nuance delivered by a voice that can be forceful or gentle as the moment demands."
Winner of the 2014 NAACP Theater Award for Best Male Equity performer in “Breath and Imagination: The Story of Roland Hayes" triple threat Rock sailed into these latest endeavors on the wings of glowing acclaim for his stage performances that include his 2016 Ovation Award Nomination for his role as the legendary Cotton Club star Cab Calloway in the musical revue “I Only Have Eyes For You” produced by legendary producer/song-writer(s,) Corky Hale and Mike Stoller. Other Notable roles include The Crooner in “Words by Ira Gershwin." The Glendale News raved, “Baritone Rock, with charm to spare, shifts smoothly from crisp jazz phrasings to the operatic…” The Hollywood Progressive proclaimed, “The youthful Rock, who appears in Showtime’s TV series ‘Masters of Sex,’ is establishing himself as one of his generation’s foremost interpreters and performers of The Great American Songbook.”
“Before this experience, I hadn’t really embraced the balladeer aspect of my gift,” Rock muses. “It was about me being vulnerable enough to know I could do it. It’s been an interesting transformation for me.” Ultimately, Elijah Rock will be wowing longtime lovers of the American Songbook music as he cultivates a younger audience with his all-around showmanship, singing in multiple languages and even his paddle-n-roll style of tap dancing - lost arts all that have found in Rock a tireless cultural savior. “I believe there is a cross demographic that this music will serve,” Rock concludes. “I am grateful to so many classic crooners that continue to inspire me, like Billy Eckstine, Frank Sinatra, Johny Hartman, Matt Monroe, Sammy Davis Jr., Arthur Prysock, Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and Ernie Andrews who is a friend to me. I approach singing from a traditional perspective with my bel canto training but I like to add a little hot sauce on top to keep it fresh. Gershwin For My Soul not only represents America’s classical music, it will give me a platform to address a lot of other things about the culture, our history and where we all stand today.”
Elijah Rock is currently touring three shows that he offers; "A Night of Romance," "Gershwin For My Soul" and "A Celebration of the Classic Crooners." He is also collaborating with famed contemporary songwriters, Joel Evans and Adryan Russ with soon to be released single's, "Whispers in the Night" / "Susurros en La Noche" ( the Spanish version). In every show, audiences revel in heart-tugging, timeless melodies from The Great American Songbook as well as some of the most beloved songs in popular music, including Rock's original material. His exciting original composition, "New York City Springtime" is now available for download.