Pianist and singer Eliane Elias always brings a rarefied blend of sensuality and intelligence to everything she plays – be it her recent Brazilian treatment of classics by The Doors and Dave Brubec, her outstanding instrumental work as a solo artist, or her collaborations with Herbie Hancock and as an early member of Steps Ahead. Peter Quinn talks to her about bringing all this together on her emotionally charged new album that’s a tribute to the beautifully melancholic life and music of Chet Baker.
Ten minutes after the doors opened, the church of Saint-Nicolas de Caen is already packed on Thursday night for the highlight of the festival Voice Viva Voce. People are impatient to listen to one of the most beautiful voices in contemporary jazz. Eliane Elias, accompanied by three musicians on the scene. Direction to Brazil surfing bossa nova rhythms with the song Bananeira, bananier in French. A soft voice, suave put a little sunshine in their hearts. The heat permeates the walls of a chilly church.
The artist is charming, smiling and touches the public . The journey continues with Desafinado composer Antonio Carlos Jobim. Eliane Elias is surrounded with Marc Johnson, her partner for 27 years, inspired bassist, Freddie Bryant smiling, and Mike Shapiro master of rhythm and percussion sticks. The four musicians are in harmony, each song is punctuated by improvisations which are real performance.
Love, joy, sadness.
Some Chet Baker, to whom she dedicated her last album. In I thought about you, flagship song of the album followed by the romantic Embraceable you, so beautiful that affect the driest souls. Of love, joy, sadness, the emotions vary with each song. Seduced, the audience follows the singer wherever it takes them. It was now that the three musicians leave the stage for an intimate moment.
Pianist with quick and accurate fingers, she travels on the piano with such ease through the songs. No frills, pure voice, pure content, certainly inimitable. Finally, she performed in front of the stage Rosa Morena, a sensual complicity with her guitarist. For the last song, she makes room for two of her fantastic musicians: Marc Johnson and Mike Shapiro. We were discovering the beauty of the sound of a bass solo with mouths opened, and remained speechless in front of the spectacular show drummer. The audience thanked the artists for these magical moments in the cheering up standing ovations.origin
A one-of-a-kind pianist and performer, you never know what Eliane Elias will do next. The Brazilian native is an indefatigable interpreter of song, effortlessly shifting between styles and moods. In concert, she has a story behind every tune and infuses her playing with a party-like groove, yet she remains a consummate musician with a deep, soulful vibe that she always brings to the material. Over the course of many albums, she has dabbled in pop, lounge, Jobim tributes and straight-ahead styles, most recently for the ECM label on the affecting instrumental favorite from 2012, Swept Away. She can still surprise, which happens frequently on I Thought About You: A Tribute To Chet Baker.
Produced in part and arranged by Elias, every hit associated with Baker swings with a touch of either Brazilian or bossa nova rhythms, supported by a first rate band of Brazilian and American musicians like bassist (and Elias’s husband) Marc Johnson, bravura trumpeter Randy Brecker and guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves. Besides the rich vamps that fulfill comfy, head-bobbing versions of the title track and “This Can’t Be Love,” the album’s spirited charm speaks directly to Elias’ precise vocals and enthralling piano playing whether on lush ballads or mid-tempo gems like “That Old Feeling.” The biggest surprise is that Elias hasn’t played up on Baker’s innate vulnerability, but rather celebrates his charisma through her own voice and melodic invention. Sultry, sexy and often endearing, I Thought About You is definitely one of the best recordings Eliane Elias has ever made. (14 tracks; 55 minutes)
By Nick Bewsey