SHORT BIO/PROGRAM NOTES
Multi-GRAMMY®-winning pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias’ distinctive musical style has emerged as one of the most unique and immediately recognizable sounds in jazz. Elias blends her Brazilian roots and alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, her classical and compositional skills, while she consistently displays her pianistic mastery and ability to integrate the many artistic roles she takes on.
With nearly 30 albums and over 2.3 million albums sold to date, Eliane Elias is critically acclaimed, has a strong presence on Spotify with 565,000 monthly listeners and over 22 million Spotify listens for her song “Little Paradise.” She has toured in 71 countries, is a four-time Gold Disc Award recipient, a three-time Best Vocal Album winner in Japan and winner of the 2018 Edison Lifetime Achievement Award in Holland to name a few accolades. Her 2019 album Love Stories was voted “Downbeat’s Best Album of 2019- Masterpiece” and as most of her previous releases, hit #1 on the jazz charts worldwide.
Eliane’s skills together with her charismatic personality, bring a wide spectrum of musical experiences and unique presentations to the audience. As Jazziz proclaimed, Eliane is “A citizen of the world” and “An artist beyond category.”
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“The Brazilian pianist and singer Eliane Elias commands the keyboard with a forceful two-handed muscularity that belies her image as a blond older sister of the mythical Girl from Ipanema.” –The New York Times
“Elias’ intoxicating vocals emote the ambient calm of a forest after a soft rain; her vibrancy is a force unto itself. With powerful artistry, her naturally prodigious talent is even stronger as the years pass—a feat capable only by the true elites of the musical world.” ***** – DownBeat
“Eliane Elias is of a generation of aggressive pianists who attack music like a lioness attacking its prey, at the same time expressing a tenderness within the core of her passion that at times has brought me to tears.” — Herbie Hancock
ELIANE ELIAS BIOGRAPHY
Over the course of a distinguished career spanning nearly 30 albums, multi-GRAMMY®-winning pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias’ distinctive musical style has emerged as one of the most unique and immediately recognizable sounds in jazz. With over 2.3 million albums sold to date, Elias blends her Brazilian roots and alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills, while she consistently displays her pianistic mastery and ability to integrate the many artistic roles she takes on.
Elias’ 2021 album MIRROR MIRROR on Candid Records is a lifelong musical dream come true—an extraordinary piano duet recording of Eliane Elias with the late legendary jazz great Chick Corea, and famed Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. While Elias’ highly successful recordings have predominantly featured her alluring voice and piano mastery, the piano has always been her first love and working with these two incredible icons was a rare opportunity to record in a two-piano setting, something she hasn’t done in many years.
“The album title is about two pianos facing each other like a beautiful mirror image, and how in each duet we reflected each other’s thoughts and ideas back and forth. To me, the piano is an extension of my body, heart and soul and is at the center of everything I do. I will always be proud and grateful for the opportunity to have registered these special musical encounters with these two master musicians.”
As a GRAMMY® Award winner, Latin GRAMMY®-winner, four-time Gold Disc Award recipient and three-time winner of Best Vocal Album in Japan amongst many other awards, Elias has taken her place in the pantheon of music giants. Her three most recent recordings reached the #1 position on the Billboard charts, iTunes, jazz radio charts and Amazon best seller charts to name only a few recent accolades.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Elias’ musical talents began to show at an early age. She started studying piano at age seven and at age 12 was transcribing solos from the great jazz masters. By the time she was 15, she was teaching piano and improvisation at one of Brazil’s most prestigious schools of music at the time, CLAM. Her performing career began in Brazil at age 17, working with Brazilian singer/songwriter Toquinho and the great poet Vinicius de Moraes, who was also Antonio Carlos Jobim’s co-writer/lyricist. In 1981, she headed for New York and in 1982 landed a spot in the acclaimed group Steps Ahead. Her first solo album release was a collaboration with Randy Brecker in 1984 entitled Amanda. Shortly thereafter her solo career began, spanning 28 albums to date with the release of Love Stories. In her work, Elias has documented dozens of her own compositions, her outstanding piano playing and arranging and beautiful vocal interpretations. She started winning polls in 1988 when she was voted Best New Talent in Jazziz magazine Critic’s Poll.
Together with Herbie Hancock, she was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the Best Jazz Solo Performance category for her 1995 release Solos and Duets. This recording was hailed by Musician magazine as “a landmark in piano duo history.” In the 1997 DownBeat Readers Poll, her recording The Three Americas was voted Best Jazz Album. Elias was also named in five other categories: Beyond Musician, Best Composer, Jazz Pianist, Female Vocalist and Musician of the Year. Considered one of the great interpreters of Jobim’s music, Elias has recorded two albums solely dedicated to the works of the composer: Plays Jobim and Sings Jobim. Her 1998 release Eliane Elias Sings Jobim won Best Vocal Album in Japan, was the number one record on Japan’s charts for over three months and was awarded Best Brazilian Album in the Jazziz Critics Poll. Both of these albums are a part of Elias’ catalogue of fourteen Blue Note Records recordings.
Moreover, as a testament to the quality of her writing, the renowned Danish Radio Big Band has performed and recorded Elias’ compositions, arranged and conducted by the legendary Bob Brookmeyer. The CD recording of this project, entitled Impulsive, received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2001.That same year, Calle 54, the highly acclaimed documentary film by Oscar-winning Spanish director Fernando Trueba, featured Elias’ performance of “Samba Triste” and also received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.
On the Classical Side, recorded in 1993, demonstrated Elias’ classical skills with a program of Bach, Ravel and Villa Lobos. In 2002, Elias recorded with opera sensation Denyce Graves. For this recording, The Lost Days, she arranged two Brazilian classical pieces and wrote an original classical composition especially for Graves titled “Haabiá-Tupi.”
In 2002, Elias signed to the RCA Music Group/Bluebird label and released Kissed by Nature, an album consisting of mostly original compositions. Dreamer, her second recording for the label (Released in 2004), was a fresh mix of tunes from the Great American Songbook, Brazilian bossa novas and two new originals, sung in English and Portuguese and supported by a full orchestra. Dreamer received the Gold Disc Award and was voted Best Vocal Album in Japan.
It reached number 3 on the pop charts in France and number 4 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. Elias ‘Around the City, released on RCA Victor in 2006, merges bits of bossa nova with shades of pop, jazz, Latin and even rock ’n’ roll. Around the City features Elias’ vocals and songwriting in collaborations with producers Andres Levin and Lester Mendez, as well as fresh takes on pop classics such as Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” and Bob Marley’s “Jammin’.” Elias returned to Blue Note/EMI in 2007 with Something for You, a tribute to the music of pianist Bill Evans. While touching the essence of the pianist/composer, she also brings her own unique gifts to the surface, as a composer, interpreter, outstanding instrumentalist, and beguiling vocalist. This release won Best Vocal Album of the Year and the Gold Disc Award in Japan. This is also the third consecutive recording of Elias to receive these awards and her fourth overall. Something for You reached number 1 on the U.S. Jazz Radio charts, number 8 on Billboard and number 2 on the French jazz charts.
2008 marked the 50th anniversary of the birth of the bossa nova. In celebration of this event, Elias recorded Bossa Nova Stories, featuring some of the landmark songs of Brazil with American classic and pop standards, exquisitely performed as only she can, with lush romantic vocals and exciting playing accompanied by a top-notch rhythm section and strings recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London. Destined to become a classic, Bossa Nova Stories achieved the following: number 1 on the French charts (2008), number 1 Vocal Album from Swing Journal in Japan (May-June 2008), number 1 iTunes Top Jazz Album (January 2009), number iTunes Top Latin Album (January 2009) and number 2 debut on Billboard’s Overall and Top Jazz Charts (January 2009). Bossa Nova Stories was also nominated by the Brazilian GRAMMYs (20th Prêmio da Música Brasileira, 2009) for Best Foreign Album.
In 2010, Blue Note Records and EMI Japan released Eliane Elias Plays Live, an all-instrumental trio album with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron of a live concert recorded in Amsterdam on May 31, 2002. This performance demonstrates modern jazz trio playing at the highest level and spotlights Elias’ inventiveness and command of the instrument on a collection of jazz standards and one original.
Light My Fire, released May 31, 2011, was the first of six albums she recorded for Concord Records. It featured four compositions by Elias as well as covers of familiar works by songwriters as diverse as Jim Morrison and the Doors, pop icon Stevie Wonder and jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond. Backing Elias was a crew of 12 high-caliber players, including Brazilian icon, guitarist/vocalist Gilberto Gil and trumpeter Randy Brecker. On Light My Fire, Elias wore many hats—as singer, pianist, composer, arranger and producer. In September 2011, her song “What About the Heart (Bate Bate)” was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY® in the category of Best Brazilian Song.
On May 28, 2013, Concord Jazz presented Elias’ I Thought About You (A Tribute to Chet Baker), an album that offered her personalized spin on the work of a key American jazz artist while spotlighting her connection to the singer-instrumentalist tradition.
Long known for her native feel of Brazilian music, I Thought About You truly confirmed Elias’ expertise as an interpreter of American standards. In addition to receiving glowing critical praise, I Thought About You reached number 1 album in the U.S. and France in sales on Amazon.com, number 2 on iTunes in several countries including the U.S., France and Brazil, number 4 on Billboard’s jazz charts and top jazz radio charts.
Made in Brazil, released on March 31, 2015, on Concord Jazz, brought Elias her first GRAMMY® win in the category of Best Latin Jazz Album in 2016, after seven previous GRAMMY® nominations. In her long career as a solo artist, it results from the first time she’s recorded a disc in her native Brazil since moving to the United States in 1981. It marked a musical homecoming for Elias. Her following album, Dance of Time, which debuted at number 1 on two Billboard charts, the iTunes Jazz Albums chart and the Amazon.com Brazilian and Latin Jazz charts, was also recorded in Elias’ homeland and took home a Latin GRAMMY® for Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album.
On April 13, 2018, Elias followed up those wins with the all-instrumental Music from Man of La Mancha, also via Concord Jazz. Featuring nine individualized interpretations of songs composed by the late Mitch Leigh for the legendary 1960s Broadway musical Man of La Mancha, it was a project Elias undertook in 1995 that was waiting for it’s release having been stymied by past contractual issues.
Leigh himself tracked down Elias after hearing her ingenious arrangements of Jobim’s music and commissioned her to arrange and produce the recording. Honored by the offer, she accepted and recruited two different all-star trios — one featuring bassist Eddie Gomez and drummer Jack DeJohnette and the other Marc Johnson on bass and Satoshi Takeishi on drums, with Manolo Badrena joining on percussion. This album also reached the #1 position on the Billboard Jazz Charts and on iTunes in several countries.
Elias’ 2019 album Love Stories is an orchestral, all-English album released via Concord Jazz. “I am very proud of this production and feel it’s one of the most romantic sets of music I’ve ever produced,” she says of the project, which she recorded in Brazil and at London’s Abbey Road Studios. She brings a stellar lineup of some of Brazil’s most sought-after rhythm section players plus Marc Johnson, her longtime musical partner and co-lyricist, on bass. Orchestrator Rob Mathes returns for his fourth recording with Elias here.
The São Paulo native tapped into a deep well of emotion for this project, which delves into various expressions of love that run the gamut from romantic and dreamy to profound and abiding. Elias’ strong connection to the bossa nova tradition features prominently here, as well, shining through in fresh, modern ways as she interprets several classic works made famous by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Antonio Carlos Jobim plus some of her all-time favorites. Elias also mines her own heart for inspiration on three stunning new original compositions.
With Love Stories, Elias continued hitting the #1 position on charts worldwide, including Amazon Best Seller on Latin, Brazilian and Orchestral charts as well as #1 on iTunes in 7 countries and again, top of the Billboard Jazz Charts. This album was selected as “Downbeat’s Best Album of 2019- Masterpiece”.
Eliane Elias has a strong presence on Spotify with 565,000 monthly listeners and over 22 million Spotify listens for her song “Little Paradise” and counting.
In review of Elias’ unique gifts as a pianist, singer, composer and arranger as well as her versatility melding her immense talents in jazz, pop, classical and Brazilian music, the New York Times has described Elias’ live concert as “a celebration of the vitality of a culture overflowing with life and natural beauty” and Jazziz magazine proclaimed her, “a citizen of the world” and “an artist beyond category.”
ELIANE ELIAS – Chick Corea – Chucho Valdés – MIRROR MIRROR
Multi GRAMMY® winning pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias’ latest album MIRROR MIRROR on Candid Records is a lifelong musical dream come true—an extraordinary piano duet recording of Eliane with the late legendary jazz great Chick Corea, and famed Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés. While her highly successful recordings have predominantly featured her alluring voice and piano mastery, the piano has always been her first love and working with these two incredible icons was a rare opportunity to record in a two-piano setting, something she hasn’t done in many years.
For the world-renowned performer, this organically created collection represents more than simply a culmination of an illustrious career that includes nearly 30 recordings, over 2.3 million albums sold, nine total GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY nominations, a GRAMMY win for Best Latin Jazz Album (Made in Brazil, 2016) and a Latin GRAMMY win for Best Latin Jazz/Jazz Album (Dance of Time, 2017). MIRROR MIRROR marks the classically trained pianist’s first piano-only recording since 1995’s Solos and Duets, a set of piano solos and six duets with pianist Herbie Hancock.
The recordings took place in NYC at Yamaha’s Artist Services in Manhattan with Corea and Brooklyn’s Bunker Studios with Valdés. It features Chick on four tracks, Chucho on three and was produced by Elias with her award-winning team of co-producers Marc Johnson and Steve Rodby, and mixed and mastered by Rich Breen. Though Corea and Valdés alternate in the track list with the opening Corea duet “Armando’s Rhumba” followed by the Valdés duet “Esta Tarde Vi Llover” before the next Corea duo “Blue Bossa,” etc., the flow is remarkably seamless – but the story behind the recording of the album is best told in two distinct segments.
Having always counted Corea as one of her chief influences, Eliane first met him in 1978 in Brazil. Meeting on occasion over the years on the road they spoke of someday playing or recording together. Having at last set aside a date to do so, by design the two’s sole literal preparation was about song suggestions. In Eliane’s view, she and Chick had been getting ready for their session with lifetimes dedicated to their craft, their instruments and the art of improvisation.
“Despite him being a generation older, our influences were similar; Bud Powell, Bill Evans, in fact, we had both done tributes to Evans. We also played with many of the same bassists and drummers and, of course both were rooted in classical training. He played Mozart and Scarlatti, I played Bach and Ravel. Those shared influences poured out as we played and one can feel our affinities through the inventiveness of the rhythms and harmonies, how we felt time with each other and how we treated the songs.”
When he passed unexpectedly in February 2021, Elias, devastated, was deep in the mixing process with four improvisational duets she had recorded with him. Revisiting the music for release reminded her just how effortlessly they communicated and of the instant rapport they shared.
You can discern the duo’s chemistry from the elegant opening of “Armando’s Rhumba”
. Ditto the opening sensitive lyrical approach and hypnotic intertwining of notes that drives “Blue Bossa”. The other tracks are the title track “Mirror Mirror” and “There Will Never Be Another You,” the title of which captures what words are insufficient to describe; the beautiful moments Eliane and Chick created in tandem.
In contemplating who she would like to work with to complete a piano duets album, the idea of playing with Valdés came quickly to mind, and Eliane describes the sessions as spontaneous, full of heart, passion, and energy – and just as importantly, another dream fulfilled. She and Valdés ran into each other at festivals and other venues over the years, and have a deep affection for each other’s playing. Before they started recording at their Model D Steinway and Sons pianos, they had a brief meeting in Miami to go over song choices. Valdés was enthusiastic about her unique suggestions of tunes by Mexican and Spanish composers. He knew the songs but was surprised she did – until Eliane told him about her mother Lucy, the daughter of a Spanish Basque who exposed her to countless Spanish language and Latin songs in addition to her extensive jazz collection. They looked over Eliane’s charts in a fun afternoon of playing together, so that when they arrived at the studio a few days later, the only question was, “Do you solo first or do I?
Eliane and Chucho create an intoxicating mix of Cuban and Brazilian rhythms throughout their three tunes, from the elegantly romantic –– “Esta Tarde Vi Llover” to the mood-swinging ”Corazon Partío” and “Sabor a Mi,” a sensual bolero which begins introspectively, then evolves into a percussive jam. “The give and take, the way I accompanied him and he accompanied me, and how we answered each other reflects how completely connected we were,” Eliane says.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Eliane began her classical piano studies at age seven and at twelve was transcribing solos from the great jazz masters. By 15, she was teaching piano and improvisation at one of Brazil’s most prestigious schools of music. Her performing career began two years later, working with Brazilian singer/songwriter Toquinho and the great poet Vinicius de Moraes, who was also Antonio Carlos Jobim’s co-writer/lyricist. Later in NYC, after performing for several years with Steps Ahead and recording on their self-titled second album (also featuring Michael Brecker, Michael Mainieri, Peter Erskine and Eddie Gomez), she launched her solo career in 1984 with a collaboration album with Randy Brecker titled Amanda.
Eliane’s first official album under her own name, Illusions, featured Stanley Clarke, Steve Gadd, Lenny White, Eddie Gomez and Toots Thielemans and hit #1 on the Radio & Records Contemporary Jazz chart. Voted Best New Talent in the Jazziz magazine critics’ poll in 1988, Eliane is a four-time Gold Disc Award recipient, a three-time Best Vocal Album winner in Japan and winner of the 2018 Edison Lifetime Achievement Award in Holland. Her 2019 album Love Stories was voted “Downbeat’s Best Album of 2019- Masterpiece” and as most of her previous releases, hit #1 on the jazz charts worldwide.
“The title MIRROR MIRROR wasn’t chosen simply because it was one of the songs Chick and I recorded,” says Eliane. “It was all about the two pianos facing each other like a beautiful mirror image, and how in each duet we reflected each other’s thoughts and ideas back and forth. To me, the piano is an extension of my body, heart and soul and is at the center of everything I do. I will always be proud and grateful for the opportunity to have registered these special musical encounters with these two master musicians.”