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I Thought About You by Eliane Elias

There’s no question about it: pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias is amazingly versatile. On May 28, 2013, Concord Jazz presents Elias’ I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker), an album that offers her personalized spin on the work of a key American jazz artist while spotlighting her connection to the singer-instrumentalist tradition. It fully demonstrates the range of interests that Elias’ art now boasts, and arrives with a statement of purpose: jazz repertoire can sound totally fresh when delivered with ingenuity and passion.Long known for her native feel of Brazilian music, this new disc truly demonstrates Elias’ expertise in yet another realm: an interpreter of American standards. An expressive, swinging singer and insightful instrumentalist and arranger, on I Thought About You she thoughtfully switches the size and approach of her impressive ensemble from track to track, yielding to each tune’s inner logic.Her choice of musicians underscores her decision to have her music move in various ways. Along with guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, drummer Rafael Barata and percussionist Marivaldo dos Santos unite with Elias and husband, esteemed bassist Marc Johnson, for a few of the Brazil-slanted tracks. The other core band members are the always impressive guitarist Steve Cardenas and the exquisite drummer Victor Lewis. If you hear a deep chemistry between the bass and drums, remind yourself that Johnson and Lewis were once part of Stan Getz’s most limber rhythm section. At various points, Elias’ former husband Randy Brecker drops in to add some of his incisive brass magic to the mix.

By and large, Elias has turned to pieces from the Great American Songbook that have been associated with Baker. Some are swaggering and bluesy, some are poignant and graceful, some are intimate and bittersweet – each is addressed like the jewel that it is.

“When selecting the repertoire, I chose songs that portrayed a wide spectrum of Chet’s work,” she says, “not only the ballads for which he was best known, but also the mid tempo and up tempo pieces he performed with such fluidity and inventiveness throughout his career.”

Jazz fans know that Chesney Henry Baker, Jr, the esteemed West Coast trumpeter who made his initial mark with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, had plenty of the ingenuity and passion mentioned above in his own work. A celebrated improviser who played with everyone from Charlie Parker to Stan Getz, Baker helped establish the lithe swing associated with the mid-’50s sound of West Coast cool. His charisma was unmistakable – he brought an unmistakable charm to any tune he addressed. With a lilt in his voice and a casual sense of rhythm, his influence made a mark on many musicians, including important Brazilian artists.

“Chet and the cool jazz movement were influential to the bossa nova artists in the 1950s,” explains Elias. “Joao Gilberto, Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes, and Antonio Carlos Jobim are just a few who have spoken to this influence. Chet sang and played with a purity of sound, and had a way of phrasing without much affectation, floating over the bar line, an approach which is immediately recognizable in the delivery of some of the great bossa nova artists, like Joao Gilberto.”

Elias makes sure the influence of cool jazz on the bossa nova is represented on several of the 14 tracks. “There Will Never Be Another You” features an ingenious arrangement, interposing Brazilian rhythms and straight-ahead jazz feel. “Embraceable You” is intoxicating, with a bluesy bossa personality rendered eloquently by her beautiful voice and piano supported by her brilliant Brazilian rhythm section. The stylistic blend continues on “Let’s Get Lost,” where Elias’ seductive coo is just as enticing as the instrumentalists’ work. “These three songs were very natural to me to place in a Brazilian groove,” she says, “and I easily relate to romantic lyrics.”

As a singer, Elias’s emotional candor and deep sense of time are part of I Thought About You’s main attractions. The title track has a vocal style that’s just as reminiscent of prime Frank Sinatra as it is Baker. Elias’ charm, swing and charisma are right up front, and united with her incisive piano playing, they make a peerless package.

The trio rendition of “You Don’t Know What Love Is” arrives with a shadowy mood that borders on cinematic. The hush of her piano mixed with Johnson’s glowing bottom and Lewis’ whispering brushes provides an eerie backdrop for lines like “You don’t know how lips hurt/until you’ve kissed and had to pay the cost.” Elias embodies the ache like a master. Intimacy is a crucial element in several of these tunes, and she uses quiet as yet another instrument.

Her agility as a singer is set in full relief on the opening of “Blue Room,” as well. In a duet, she and Johnson sway around each other, equal parts playful and imposing. “In 2008, Marc and I were at a live interview at a radio station in Paris,” says Elias. “Our host surprised us with a recording of Chet singing ‘Blue Room’ a cappella, which has the lyric ‘and every day’s a holiday because you’re married to me.” At that point in time not many people knew we were married, and it was very touching to us. Since then, this song was always on the ‘to do’ list for this project.”

Like six other tracks on the album, “Blue Room” is presented without a drummer – another way to create an intimate feel. “There’s something about the space that not having drums provides,” explains Elias. “It can bring the listener closer into the music. Through much of his career, Chet performed in sparse, drummerless settings. There’s an interesting quote from him that speaks to this: ‘It takes a hell of drummer to be better than no drummer at all.’”

Lack of percussion doesn’t slow down the action on quicker pieces. The tempo of “Just In Time” is blistering, and the virtuosity of Elias’ piano is an adrenaline rush. “Marc drives that beat,” she continues, “and what about the Brazilian singer chewing all those words in English? Ha! This was a lot of fun.”

A nod to the superb brass player would be lacking without a horn in the mix, and the brilliant trumpeter Randy Brecker brings his horn prowess front and center on several songs. Want to talk refined lyricism? His solo on “That Old Feeling” darts around the melody with an authoritative élan. And the flugelhorn work on “Just Friends” finds a way to goose the action while still feeling quite dapper. “Randy killed,” reports Elias. “He always plays beautifully but he outdid himself this time. During the years we were together, we often heard Chet’s recordings in the house.”

This isn’t Elias’ first dive into a master’s songbook. She’s essayed the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Bill Evans previously. But this nod to Baker has been on her mind for a while. In 2010 when she was signed by Concord, this project was to be her first for the esteemed label. Because of the sequence of her output to that point, she opted to first record a Brazilian themed album, which became the critically and publicly acclaimed Light My Fire.

I Thought About You was well worth the wait, of course. It’s one of Elias’ most thoughtfully constructed albums, and a date that shows just how adroitly she moves around the bossa-jazz-blues nexus. She truly is an artist beyond category.

Elias closes the album with its most tender moment, “I Get Along Without You Very Well.” On the original, Baker starts the track with only a celeste behind him. Elias stuck to her piano to get the job done on her update of this heartbreaking farewell, and it’s a chilling interpretation. Her voice is mix of pride and vulnerability, and her touch on the keys make the chord changes drop into place like dusk descending.

From buoyant swing to luminous bossa nova to jaunty blues, I Thought About You achieves Elias’ initial goal: creating a well-rounded portrait of a master. “I chose each of these songs to speak about various feelings and aspects of love,” she concludes, “but I wouldn’t feel that I’d done a true tribute to Chet if I hadn’t addressed some other dimensions of his work as a singer/instrumentalist.”

Musica del Mundo “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” (8/4/2013) - El divino don de fluir Eliane Elias “I Thought About You” – A Tribute to Chet Baker (Concord, 2013) Eliane es una pianista exquisita y versada. Sobre todo, es pianista antes que vocalista. Ese hincapié hacia la vocalización viene de la idea de tocar otras puertas y abrir otras ventanas. El ejemplo de la canadiense... Read more »
New City review of “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane (7/27/2013) - Late trumpeter Chet Baker may have lived a troubled life all the way to his tragic death in 1988, but he left a legacy of great recordings that influenced countless musicians and fans throughout the years—his approach to singing and playing clearly informed the Bossa Nova movement in Brazil, and many standards today are immediately... Read more »
Examiner.com review: I Thought About You (Video) (7/24/2013) - By: Samuel Archer July 24, 2013 Jazz lovers will appreciate the music of Eliane Elias. Her latest release is “I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker).” It’s an album that offers her personalized spin on the work of a key American jazz artist while spotlighting her connection to the singer-instrumentalist tradition. It fully... Read more »
ICON Suggests: Eliane Elias, I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker) (7/5/2013) - 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,... Read more »
Jersey Jazz review: I Thought About You (7/1/2013) - July/August issue of Jersey Jazz By Joseph Lang There have been several recorded tributes to Chet Baker over the years, but none quite like I Thought About You (Concord Jazz – 34191) by pianist/vocalist ELIANE ELIAS.  She is the first female vocalist to make such an album, and her approach is much more eclectic that... Read more »
Jazz Times review of “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (6/27/2013) - Its release timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Chet Baker’s death, Eliane Elias’ I Thought About You is the most satisfying of the many Baker tributes that have surfaced of late, because the Brazilian pianist and vocalist so keenly appreciates a key shared attribute. Like the perennially misunderstood Baker, wrongfully pegged as a... Read more »
International Review of Music “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (6/14/2013) -   So you are a leading Bossa Nova singer. Can you also do all those jazz classics associated with Chet Baker? If you are Eliane Elias, you can. With voice and piano. So how and why does someone get to be a terrific jazz singer and top shelf piano player? I don’t know. I just... Read more »
I Thought About You: A New CD By Eliane Elias (6/13/2013) - By Robert Fritz (Award winning film writer, director, composer and author of best sellers) June 11, 2013 Every now and then an album comes along that you know is an instant classic, one that you will listen to throughout the years. And you want more than to hear it. You want to own it. Just... Read more »
Huffington Post review of “I Thought About You; A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (6/5/2013) - Brazilian pianist-singer Eliane Elias offers an inspired tribute to cool jazz legend Chet Baker, a major influence on bossa nova pioneers like Joao Gilberto. Unlike other recent tributes, which focused on slow ballads reflecting the sadness in Baker’s music, Elias covers a wider spectrum of the trumpeter-singer’s repertoire by including up-tempo and mid-tempo tunes with... Read more »
Ultra Audio recording of the month “I thought about you: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (6/1/2013) - Musical Performance: **** Sound Quality: **** Overall Enjoyment: **** Eliane Elias says, of her new disc, “I Thought About You was inspired by Chet Baker and in that sense it is a tribute to Chet, it was a natural fit for me to play, to sing music inspired by Chet because I am an instrumentalist... Read more »
Christian Science Monitor: Intimate jazz tribute (6/1/2013) - Jazz requires a rare talent to play well and an even finer skill set to sing. Brazilian pianist/singer Eliane Elias demonstrates an effortless mastery of both on I Thought About You (A Tribute to Chet Baker). Gently swinging through an inspired selection of American standards, Ms. Elias and her band put a subtle bossa nova... Read more »
Ultra Audio review of “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (6/1/2013) - Eliane Elias says, of her new disc, “I Thought About You was inspired by Chet Baker and in that sense it is a tribute to Chet, it was a natural fit for me to play, to sing music inspired by Chet because I am an instrumentalist and a singer, as Chet was.” Baker’s singing was sometimes... Read more »
All Music review of “I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (5/28/2013) - Pianist and vocalist Eliane Elias pays tribute to legendary jazz trumpeter/vocalist Chet Baker on her 2013 album I Thought About You. Featuring a selection of standards strongly associated with Baker, Elias mixes her native Brazilian bossa nova with swing, straight-ahead jazz, and even a few bluesy flourishes with much aplomb. The album, produced by Elias’... Read more »
Edge review of “I Thought About You: a tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (5/28/2013) - Eliane Elias takes the bossa nova beat back once more to the influential jazz rhythms laid down in a uber-cool styling with “I Thought About You (A Tribute to Chet Baker)” The recordings are a tour-de-force effort with Elias paying tribute to a noted and legendary West Coast trumpet player, Baker who swings into the stylish and... Read more »
Philadelphia Enquirer review: I Thought About You: 
A Tribute to Chet Baker (5/27/2013) - May 27, 2013 (Concord ***1/2) In addition to her own compositions, the versatile Brazilian pianist and vocalist Eliane Elias has done albums of the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim and of Bill Evans. She’s transformed songs by the Doors and Stevie Wonder and compositions of Bach and Ravel. On I Thought About You, she turns to... Read more »
Something Else Reviews “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (5/25/2013) - The wonder is how much Eliane Elias, the Brazalian-born pianist and singer, has in common with the doomed American romantic Chet Baker. She doesn’t so much reshape the 14 Baker-related songs on I Thought About You, due May 28, 2013 from Concord Jazz, as subtly inhabit them — none more so than on the title... Read more »
Pittsburgh Post Gazette review of “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” By Eliane Elias (5/23/2013) - Brazilian-born vocalist-pianist Eliane Elias has paid homage previously, honoring both Brazilian jazz fountainhead Antonio Carlos Jobim and piano great Bill Evans with tribute albums. This time, she turns her attention to the late trumpet virtuoso Chet Baker. An icon of the ’50s West Coast jazz scene, Baker’s trumpet prowess and sweetly understated vocals earned him... Read more »
All About Jazz review of “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (5/23/2013) - It is tempting to consider Chet Baker hommages like Jeff Baker’s excellent Baker Sings Chet (OA2, 2004) or John Proulx’s sublime Baker’s dozen: Remembering Chet Baker (MAXJAZZ, 2009) superior to the real item. So fractured is our picture of Baker that our full appreciation of him is clouded by his extra-musical proclivities. But it is... Read more »
Voice of America review of “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (5/18/2013) - Brazilian-born pianist, composer, and vocalist Eliane Elias is paying tribute to an American trumpet icon on a new album due for release on May 28. “This recording is a tribute to Chet Baker and to cool jazz,” said Elias in an interview with VOA’s Jazz Beat. “ Chet Baker had a special way of phrasing,... Read more »
Hill Rag review of “I Thought About You: A tribute to Chet Baker” by Eliane Elias (5/8/2013) - I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker) ••• Eliane Elias, Concord Reords Brazilian pianist-vocalist-arranger Eliane Elias has given us a fine tribute to the late trumpeter and singer Chet Baker, one of America’s premier jazz legends. Noted for one of his solo performances on his most memorable album, My Funny Valentine, Mr. Baker... Read more »

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“Brazilian pianist-singer Eliane Elias offers an inspired tribute to cool jazz legend Chet Baker, a major influence on bossa nova pioneers like Joao Gilberto. Unlike other recent tributes, which focused on slow ballads reflecting the sadness in Baker’s music, Elias covers a wider spectrum of the trumpeter-singer’s repertoire by including up-tempo and mid-tempo tunes with a certain swagger and seductiveness on I Thought About You.”
Associated Press

“A Brazilian pianist with a transparent touch and a fondness for subtle harmonic shading, Ms. Elias is also a singer of breathy composure, as she demonstrates on her new album, I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker (Concord Jazz).”
The New York Times

“On her new album, I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker, the pianist and singer skillfully refashions the signature songs of the classic cool-jazz trumpeter and vocalist into Brazilian-style anthems.”
The New Yorker

“Its release timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of Chet Baker’s death, Eliane Elias’ I Thought About You is the most satisfying of the many Baker tributes that have surfaced of late, because the Brazilian pianist and vocalist so keenly appreciates a key shared attribute. Like the perennially misunderstood Baker, wrongfully pegged as a tragedian, Elias is first and foremost a sensualist.”
JazzTimes

“…Elias sings her Baker straight and uncomplicated, highlighting Baker’s own emotionally frozen though thoroughly attractive delivery. The result captures Baker’s dark and hiply sardonic singing personality. What Elias brings to the table is the breezy lilt of a Brazilian accent that increases the disc’s sensuality to eleven on a scale of ten.”
All About Jazz

“With I Thought About You, Elias acknowledges Baker and Brazilian jazz at the same time—and the results are consistently engaging.”
Jazz Inside Magazine

“The Brazilian jazz singer/pianist does justice to singer/trumpeter Chet Baker in this 14-song tribute.”
Vintage Guitar

“In addition to her own compositions, the versatile Brazilian pianist and vocalist Eliane Elias has done albums of the work of Antonio Carlos Jobim and of Bill Evans. She’s transformed songs by the Doors and Stevie Wonder and compositions of Bach and Ravel. On I Thought About You, she turns to Chet Baker, who with his West Coast cool-jazz compatriots influenced Brazil’s bossa nova movement, which blossomed in the 1950s… It’s a seductive delight.”
Philadelphia Inquirer

“Jazz requires a rare talent to play well and an even finer skill set to sing. Brazilian pianist/singer Eliane Elias demonstrates an effortless mastery of both on I Thought About You (A Tribute to Chet Baker). Gently swinging through an inspired selection of American standards, Ms. Elias and her band put a subtle bossa nova flavor on songs associated with Mr. Baker, the cool-blowing West Coast trumpeter who excelled both as singer and master of his instrument.”
Christian Science Monitor

“Ms. Elias’ sensual vocals sustain the album, but Mr. Brecker’s virtuosity offers perspectives that not only complement her voice but do Baker justice. The sum total not only honors Chet Baker’s enduring genius, but places it solidly in the here and now.” ****
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/blockquote>

“The Brazilian jazz singer/pianist does justice to singer/trumpeter Chet Baker in this 14-song tribute.”
Vintage Guitar

“She is as delicate and attenuated as Baker ever was on I Thought About You, even while adding just the right amount of spicy São Paulo sensuality. Elias takes his romantic expressionism to exciting new places and, along the way, sparks a new appreciation for what Baker once meant — and for what Elias is still revealing about her own craft.”
Something Else!

“Featuring a selection of standards strongly associated with Baker, Elias mixes her native Brazilian bossa nova with swing, straight-ahead jazz, and even a few bluesy flourishes with much aplomb…Elias, who has also leaned toward playing melodic, often romantic music, is a perfect conduit for reinterpreting Baker’s music.”
All Music

“Brazilian-born pianist, composer, and vocalist Eliane Elias is paying tribute to an American trumpet icon on a new album due for release on May 28…Elias brings to the concept her distinctive style — both vocally and at the piano — which blends traditional Brazilian music, bossa nova, and straight-ahead jazz. The 14-track album, I Thought About You: A Tribute to Chet Baker, features a group of acclaimed musicians, including her husband bassist Marc Johnson, trumpeter Randy Brecker, guitarists Steve Cardenas and Oscar Castro-Neves, drummer Victor Lewis, and percussionist Marivaldo Dos Santos.”
Voice of America

“There is much to like about this release, not the least of which is the fact that Elias is a singer of self-possession and focus…[Baker] left a full yet incomplete jazz legacy. Eliane Elias breathes new life into an inspired sampling of his work.”
Audiophile Audition

“Ms. Elias’ sensual vocals sustain the album, but Mr. Brecker’s virtuosity offers perspectives that not only complement her voice but do Baker justice. The sum total not only honors Chet Baker’s enduring genius, but places it solidly in the here and now.” ****
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“I came in thinking of Elias as a vocalist who plays piano. I left realizing she’s a great pianist who sings (also great, by the way).”
Burlington Free Press

“Whether it is the sorrow-tinged grace of ‘You Don’t Know What Love Is’ or the kittenish allure of the Gershwin gem ‘Embraceable You,’ and ‘Girl Talk’ Eliane Elias, a true native of San Paulo, Brazil exudes sensuality, sadness, joy and sophisticated know-how in any language as she proves beyond a doubt…Eliane’s tribute to Chet Baker succeeds on every level.”
EDGE

“All the songs heard here are about the romance of love and the humanity of our connection to life. Don’t miss Ms. Elias beautiful and sexy rendition of ‘Embraceable You.’ Listen and enjoy.”
Hill Rag (Wash, DC)

“Pianist and singer Eliane Elias’ latest release is a tribute to trumpeter and singer Chet Baker. The album features more than a dozen standards strongly associated with Baker, delivered in a hushed, intimate, gently swinging style, which points to the similarities between Baker’s West Coast cool jazz sound and the bossa nova of Elias’ native Brazil.”
NYC Jazz Record

“…a very enjoyable album.”
CD HotList

“In recognition to Baker’s talent, Brazilian-born pianist Eliane Elias looks back at his storied career by giving a fresh interpretation to many tunes identified with him, mixing ‘cool’ West Coast jazz grooves, with Brazilian-flavored tunes and some straight-ahead jazz.”
NewCity (Chicago)

“Put it all together, and you have an album that captures the spirit of Chet Baker without any attempts at imitation. It is a daring, but successful undertaking by Elias and her cohorts.”
Jersey Jazz

“Elaine Elias continues to give her best in her music and her desire to give her audiences this best is what keeps her creating and living inspired. Her sound is very personal, an offering of herself – an offering that continues to reach us deep within, just as she felt when she began this journey.”
iRockJazz

“While Elias came to prominence with her Brazilian flair, as an interpreter of American standards one would be hard pressed to find an artist as stylish, elegant and sophisticated as Elias. Oh yeah…being a piano virtuoso does not hurt.” *****
@CriticalJazz

“I Thought About You is an album of classic jazz standards and material. The arrangements and production on this CD are top notch, and get high marks for taste and quality of the performances. Eliane Elias sizzles on every track, and there’s no doubt that listeners will think about her and the CD long after the last track has played.”
The Entertainment Bank

“Taken separately, it’s easy to think the elements here wouldn’t work, but when put together this elegantly, the sum of the parts become grandly greater than the whole. A real left field winner that’s sure to raise eyebrows as Elias breaks new ground in a most unexpected way.”
Midwest Record

“The sense of time on this CD moves from some deep inner core that is so naturally ‘in the groove,’ that you can’t help but flow with it. And it made me consider, for the first time, if there is a lyricism of rhythm the same way there is for melody.”
Robert Fritz, award-winning film writer, director, composer & best-selling author

“So you are a leading Bossa Nova singer. Can you also do all those jazz classics associated with Chet Baker? If you are Eliane Elias, you can. With voice and piano. So how and why does someone get to be a terrific jazz singer and top shelf piano player? I don’t know. I just listen and count myself lucky. Because on this album, Elias isn’t just paying homage to Baker, she’s covering the Gershwins, Johnny Mercer, Richard Rodgers and Hoagy Carmichael. Among others. The first five or six songs are like an American classic Master Class.”
International Review of Music

“The sound quality is much better of course, but, in terms of arrangement, vocal styling and song choice, well I can easily picture Don Draper from ‘Mad Men’ having this one on the hi-fi.”
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“Elias is a smart, witty singer who brings something fresh to songs that have been interpreted many times by jazz singers. She upends the dated lyrics of ‘Girl Talk’ with a slightly tongue-in-cheek reading, and even in the headlong rush of words of ‘Just in Time’ she never loses touch with the meaning of the lyric. Her playing is impeccable and exciting on I Thought About You, her singing passionate, her arrangements fresh. She’s recorded a lot of good discs, but none better than this.” ****
Ultra Audio Recording of the Month

“Sexy, sultry and often endearing, I Thought About You is definitely one of the best recordings Eliane Elias has ever made.” ****
ICON

The Media Kit includes sample tracks, videos, HI-Res Photos, concert posters, and more

Eliane Elias I Thought About You
I Thought About You

Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson
Eliane Elias photography by Bob Wolfenson

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