The Chicago Tribune gives Eliane’s show a stellar review

The sounds of Brazil swept into Evanston on Friday evening, though imbued with the character of American jazz.

Brazilian singer-pianist Eliane Elias has been intertwining the two, to varying degrees, through most of her career, and during her first set at SPACE she very nearly erased lines separating them. For whether she was playing up-tempo fare (most of the time) or occasional ballads, she combined the rhythmic lilt of Brazilian samba and bossa nova with the robust spirit and harmonic intricacies of contemporary jazz improvisation.

True, Elias worked within mainstream expression, leaving experimentation to others. But perhaps it’s best to regard her as a longtime champion of the music of her native country, proselytizing for it around the world, and quite effectively so.

Indeed, the youthful enthusiasm and unabashed ebullience of her show at SPACE ran counter to what one might expect from an artist who has been touring the world for decades. Judging by this night, Elias still brings a sense of discovery to her Brazil-meets-jazz metier.

Much of the evening’s repertoire came from “Dance of Time,” Elias’ latest album, starting with the joyous “Sambou Sambou” (which Elias translated as “You Dance to the Samba”). Its composer, the prolific Brazilian songwriter-pianist Joao Donato, made a belated Chicago debut as a septuagenarian in 2007, leading a trio in a buoyant performance at the now-long-gone HotHouse; and he returned the following year to participate in singer-guitarist Paulinho Garcia’s massive bossa nova concert in Millennium Park.

“Sambou Sambou” captures the puckish, playful facet of those Donato appearances, Elias emphasizing the point with the bright timbre of her vocals, the silvery tone of her pianism and the easy bounce of her rhythms. It was impossible not to smile during this performance.

Elsewhere in the program, Elias answered her throaty vocals with melodic piano commentary in the Gershwins’ “Embraceable You,” produced an avalanche of keyboard sound in “Coisa Feita” (“Silver Sandal”) and provided an all-too-rare moment of quiet in her own “By Hand” (“Em Maos”).

The tour de force came toward the end, in Jobim’s “Desafinado,” reconceived here as a vast fantasia built on multiple sections and several tempo changes. Elias’ lush opening piano solo revealed her conversance with the musical vocabularies of two stylistically far-flung masters: Art Tatum and Bill Evans. Once Elias’ collaborators joined the instrumental texture, the trio offered rigorous jazz improvisation, with Johnson’s cellolike bass solo as surprising as it was poetic.

Asking the audience to sing “ahhh” at the appropriate moments in Jobim’s “The Girl From Ipanema,” which Elias offered as an encore, may not have been the most original idea of the night. Yet there was something disarming about hearing a packed house deliver that famous sigh in unison, as if to underscore the universality of Brazilian sounds of a certain era.

Ultimately, this music never goes out of date. In Elias’ hands, it can seem almost new.

Howard Reich is a Tribune critic.

All About Jazz give ‘Dance of Time’ 5 stars!

Two years ago, Eliane Elias released Made In Brazil (Concord, 2015) and all it did was win the 2016 Grammy for Best Latin Album. It’s a great album and with Dance of Time, Elias hasn’t repeated a successful formula; she’s perfected it. This is an opulent recording, rich in its authenticity and lavish in its glorious accomplishments.

 As Elias has transitioned from a pianist/vocalist to a vocalist/pianist (there is a difference), some fans and certainly some critics have wondered if she has wavered too close into crossing over into pop music. Not to worry. Whether she is singing in English or Portuguese, she remains as far from being a pop singer as a hot dog is from being a T-bone steak.

Elias’ voice is a bit delicate and she compensates for her lack of sheer power by choosing material that best compliments her, a trait she shares with Sade, another vocalist who doesn’t overwhelm with raw power and substitutes expertise in knowing her limits and wisely choosing material which best suits her. Elias’ assured voice breathes new life into standards like “Speak Low” and “You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me” and her assured confidence as a songwriter makes her own original composition, “Little Paradise” seemlike something you’ve heard before even though you haven’t.

For nearly an hour Elias, deftly crafts a record that seems like a live performance augmented by a white-hot band of supporting musicians. Dance of Time fills the listener with joy as it soothes one moment on a sexy ballad like “Little Paradise” one moment and irresistibly swaying to “O Pato.” Among the guest players Mike Mainieri, a compadre from Steps Ahead and ex-husband, Randy Brecker sit in adding their contributions on vibraphone and flugelhorn respectively. Mark Kibble lends his tenor vocalizations to the affair and stands out on the “Copacabana” (no relation to the cheesy Barry Manilow song, thank you very much) where he harmonizes with Elias’s beguiling lead and as she lays out, Kibble brings it home with an euphoric closing.

Special attention should be directed to “Samba De Orly ” and “Not To Cry (Pra Nao Chorar)” two collaborations with Brazilian singer/songwriter/guitarist Toquinho who worked with Elias when she was seventeen. “An Up Dawn” is a spirited duet with Elias’ piano teacher, Amilton Godby. “I wanted to include musicians who were very important in the start of my career,” Elias says. “Dance of Time represents the spectrum of my career from the very beginning until now.”

Recorded in Brazil and produced by Steve Rodby and Marc Johnson, the musical and marital partner to Elias, the idea is to pay homage to 100 years of samba music and it more than delivers on that score. As Elias has transitioned from a pianist/vocalist to a vocalist/pianist (yes, there is a difference), some fans and certainly critics have wondered if she has wavered too close into crossing over into Diana Krall territory and leaving the jazz behind in pursuit of reinventing hereself as a sultry chanteuse. That’s a suspicion born out in part to how many glamour shots of Elias clad in a slinky black dress seem to be showing up in the CD booklet. Not to worry. Elias remains first and foremost a jazz musician whose piano playing precision is impeccable. Whether she is singing in English or Portuguese, Elias remains as far from being a pop singer as a hot dog is from being prime rib.

There is a certain degree of frustration that comes with Dance of Time and that is despite how good it is it will struggle to find the audience and attention it so richly deserves. The sad truth is one would think—one would hope—scoring a Grammy award win would herald an awakening and a rediscovery of Brazilian jazz in general and Elias in particular. That probably won’t happen. Further, the fact that Dance of Time is neither as non- disposable as much of the music on smooth jazz stations is or as staid and safely escondened in the dusty past as some of the programming on contemporary jazz stations, where is this terrific album’s natural niche?

The immediate answer is it belongs in the record collection of anyone who loves honest and authentic Brazilian jazz and Dance of Time is as honestly authentic as it gets. Eliane Elias has been one of the genre’s most consistently masterful virtuosos and even when she’s looking back fondly, she is still moving forward confidently. Needless to say this is top shelf material and highly recommended.

 by Jeff Winbush

5 stars

Track Listing: O Pato; You’re Getting To Be A Habit With Me; Copacabana; Coisa Feita; By Hand (Em Maos); Sambou Sambou; Little Paradise; Speak Low; Samba De Orly; Na Batucada Da Vida; An Up Dawn; Not To Cry (Pra Nao Chorar)

Personnel: Eliane Elias: vocals, piano; Marcus Texiera: acoustic guitar (1-3, 5-10); Conrado Goys: electric guitar (4); Marcelo Mariano: electric bass (1-10); Edu Ribero: drums (1-3, 5-10); Celso de Almeida: drums (4); Marivaldo dos Santos: percussion (2, 3, 9); Gustavo di Dalva: percussion (2, 3, 9); Amilton Godoy: piano (4); Joao Bosco: vocal, guitar (4); Mark Kibble: background vocals (3, 5, 8); Mike Mainieri: vibraphone (2, 7); Randy Brecker: flugelhorn (8); Toquinho: vocal (9, 12), guitar (12)

Title: Dance of Time | Year Released: 2017 | Record Label: Concord Records

Read the full review here.

“Dance of Time is so far one of the best Brazilian-rooted albums of the year” says World Music Central


USA-based Brazilian pianist and vocalist Eliane Elias has become of the most familiar names in the world of Brazilian-rooted jazz. Her new album Dance of Time takes Eliane back to her Brazilian roots in a brilliant manner.

Dance of Time was recorded in Brazil and the result is a truly exquisite recording. There is not a weak track on this album. Eliane Elias effortlessly balances her talent as a pianist and singer-songwriter, delivering some of her finest material, injecting spirited samba.

Dance of Time features first class talent from Brazil and the United States, including pianist Amilton Godoy, singer- songwriter and guitarist João Bosco, guitarist and vocalist Toquinho, trumpeter Randy Brecker, vibraphonist Mike Mainieri and the unmistakable remarkable vocals of Mark Kibble (Take 6).

The performances on Dance of Time are remarkable and the recording quality is superb.

Dance of Time is so far one of the best Brazilian-rooted albums of the year.

Angelo Romero April 28,2017

Eliane Elias Celebrates Her Roots

Angelo Romero April 28,2017

London Evening Standard calls Eliane ‘Legend of the Bossa Queen’ and gives her a 4 star review

Eliane Elias, review: Legend of the bossa queen

Elias proved she’s an artist at her peak, says Jane Cornwell 4/21/17

Spectacular playing:  She’s told it before but she’ll tell it again: Eliane Elias was just 17, leading her trio at a gig in Sao Paolo, when she spotted Joao Gilberto and Vinicius de Moraes, the creators of bossa nova, seated down the front.

“As close as you are now,” said the New York-based virtuoso, 57, smiling at a rapt front row from behind a grand piano. Adding that she would go on to work with the pair for three years, she dedicated Chega de Saudade, the first ever bossa, in their honour, her sweet croon and spectacular playing – delicate skips, cascading trills, wildly percussive chords – vindicating their faith, and then some.

The double bassist Marc Johnson, formerly of Bill Evans’ trio, clung tenderly to his instrument, as if it was all too beautiful.

An artist at her peak, Elias is getting her dues. Her last record, 2015’s Made In Brazil, won her a Grammy, finally, after seven previous nominations (“So, you know, never give up!”).

Current album Dance of Time, a salute to samba and to the musicians who helped her on her way, went straight to Number One all over the place. Little wonder: tracks including a Latin-tinged Sambao Sambao and her own exquisite ballad, Little Paradise, fizzed with optimism, bathed you in warmth. “Obrigado,” she said at the end, looking heavenwards.

Read the full review here.

The London Times give Eliane’s live performance 4 stars!

The Brazilian singer-pianist Eliane Elias must occasionally glance at the tour schedule of Diana Krall (two nights at the Albert Hall) and wonder why her star hasn’t risen quite so high. They are two glamorous women playing jazz with a breezy hipness. Elias’s voice is characterful if small compared with Krall’s, but as an improvising pianist she puts the Canadian in the shade.

Still, six sold-out shows at Ronnie Scott’s is no small achievement and Elias arrived trailing accolades for her new album, Dance of Time. Her career has mixed South American rhythms with North American jazz, but her first set was rooted firmly in the southern hemisphere.

The opener, Antônio Carlos Jobim’s Somewhere in the Hills, the first of many sambas, set the tone. Elias’s percussive left hand propelled the rhythms, her right hand embellishing the tune with intricate bebop and bravura flourishes. Drums, guitar and the double bass of her husband, Marc Johnson, added supple support and the music seemed to float. Sambou Sambou introduced Caribbean grooves, which would have inspired dancing in any audience that wasn’t seated and still digesting its dinner.

Elias wears her artistry lightly. Others with her pianistic skills might flaunt it on grand technocratic opuses. Instead, João Gilberto’s O Pato (The Duck) is a pop song about the singing adventures of assorted park life. It nonetheless found room for an elegant bowed bass solo from Johnson. The guitarist Rubens de La Corte offered discreet melodic support while the drummer Rafael Barata was all brushed precision.

Amid the sambas, there were gentler moments too. Elias’s tender love song Little Paradise showed off her writing talents. A guitar solo opened You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me, once a staple for Frank Sinatra. Yet as the set progressed the intensity increased, Elias introducing rolling blues and gospel chords, sparking funky interplay between piano and bass. The uptempo samba Coisa Feita developed a giddy momentum, with Barata unleashing a bravura solo on drums.

Thanks to the sunny contours of Brazilian music and those soft-focus album sleeves, there are some who still dismiss Elias as jazz-lite. A show such as this demonstrates how wrong they are.

Jazz: Eliane Elias at Ronnie Scott’s, W1 ★★★★☆

Dance of Time debuts on Billboard at Number 1!

Congratulations to Grammy-winning pianist/singer/composer/arranger Eliane Elias as her new album, Dance of Time, debuts at #1 on Billboard’s Traditional Jazz Albums and World Music Albums Charts!

Eliane’s Dance of Time is featured on Keyboard Magazine

Eliane Elias Celebrates the Samba on Her New #1 Album Dance of Time

Click here to see the review 

Eliane Elias is on a recorded roll. Following the success of her Grammy-winning 2015 release Made in Brazil, the famed pianist, composer and vocalist is back with her new album Dance of Time, just released on the Concord Jazz label. A salute to both the 100th anniversary of the Brazilian samba, as well as Elias’ own multifaceted musical gifts, the album debuted at Number One on the iTunes Jazz Album Chart upon its release on March 24, 2017.

Elias spoke to me about her new album while she prepped for a tour at home in New York City.

Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your new album Dance of Time?

There were a couple of ideas for the new album. The first was celebrating the 100 years of the samba. When I talk about samba, I’m talking about the rhythm of it, and bringing that percussive feel to the piano. The samba is something that reaches everyone in our culture. It goes from the poorest person to the richest person, and across all races. It’s the glue of our Brazilian culture. I also wanted to feature guests that were really important during the start of my career. As of this year, I’ve been on the road now for 40 years, and I started on the road with Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes. That was my first international opportunity to play Brazilian music. And also, Amilton Godoy, who was my mentor and piano teacher, and the head of the school where I became a teacher at the age of 15. There are also musicians from the United States that have been so important for me, like Randy Brecker and Mike Manieri, and more recently, Mark Kibble.

Why did you record the album in Brazil?

I chose to record in Brazil because I wanted to capture the authenticity of the rhythm, and I used these amazing musicians that I discovered I had an affinity with when I recorded my album Made in Brazil. On this record we did not use acoustic bass, we used electric bass because I wanted to really go down! I wanted to use that fifth string and have the sustain and punctuation of the instrument – the way the electric bass speaks for the samba.

The new album has a wide variety of styles on it – from traditional Brazilian music, to originals and even some unexpected versions of jazz classic like “Speak Low.” How did you go about choosing the repertoire for the record?

Well, I envisioned doing the song “You’re Getting to Be a Habit With Me” as a Bossa Nova, bringing a Brazilian groove to it. I’ve always liked it, and it’s a tune that I’ve wanted to record for quite a while. I remember [Frank] Sinatra doing it. He recorded his famous duet album with [seminal Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos] Jobim I think 50 years ago this year. So it’s my personal nod to those two recording the Bossa Nova, with an American “standard.” With “Speak Low,” I wanted to do something different, so it becomes a samba at the end.

After 40 years of touring, are there things that you are trying to do now that are different than when you began your career? For instance, the last time we spoke you mentioned you were adding an electric keyboard to your live set-up to bring different textures into your show.

Oh, I have a story to tell you about that. I was touring for the Made in Brazil album, and on my [contract] rider I had an electric keyboard that was part of the show. I was really enjoying doing that, until I was playing this really large theater in Lisbon, Portugal. I had the keyboard facing the audience, and when I got to the very end of one the tunes from the record – I think it was the tune “Incendiando.” I played the last chord, and the entire keyboard fell on the floor! It was about a quarter of an inch from the tip of my toe. It made a huge BANG, and the entire audience reacted with a roar. And I said, “Okay, I don’t want any keyboards on the stage anymore!”

You’re becoming very rock and roll, destroying your equipment on stage!

[She laughs]. Yeah. I told the audience that it was just part of the show!