Born and raised in Berkeley, CA, Eli began his musical career playing piano in the award winning Berkeley High Jazz Ensemble. While still in high school he toured Europe to play the Umbria, Montreux And Vienne Jazz Festivals. During his senior year he took up the Hammond B-3 Organ and began gigging at San Francisco organ clubs like The Boom Boom Room, Club Deluxe, The Purple Onion, the Alpha Bar and Bacar.
Eli went on to receive a BA in Ethnomusicology from UCLA, where he studied jazz performance with Kenny Burrell. While living in LA, Eli performed at venues like The Jazz Bakery, Catalina’s Bar and Grill, The Mint and the Temecula Valley Jazz Festival. He was reviewed and featured in LA Jazz Scene, The Hollywood Weekly and interviewed on Los Angeles radio stations. In 2008 he received the Louis Armstrong Young Composers award from ASCAP.
After graduating UCLA, Eli moved back to the Bay Area and established his own trio while also playing in numerous other groups. Eli performed at some of the most established venues and festivals in the bay area including Yoshi's, Coda, Madrone, The Jazzschool, The San Francisco Jazz Festival and the Fillmore St. Jazz Festival. Eli also taught music privately at various music schools across the bay area. In the spring of ’09, Eli was selected to participate in the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead program in Washington D.C. and perform on stage at the Kennedy Center. The following year, Eli moved to New York City where he has continued to both teach and perform with multiple bands, including Zongo Junction, Shareef Clayton and Ethan Shorter.