Jazz Review

Light My Fire is Eliane Elias at her best and perfectly reflects her great talent as a composer, singer, songwriter and pianist. There are twelve songs on this excellent collection. Among the songs are found “Rosa Morena,”  ”Stay Cool,” “Aquele Abraco,”  ”Light My Fire,” “Silver Sandal,” “My Cherie Amour,” “Toda Menina Baiana,” “Bananeira,” “Made in Moonlight,” “Turn To Me,” ”Take Five,” and “What About the Heart.” Having followed the musical career of Eliane Elias since the late 1980s, she has always been a highly innovative pianist, and coupled with her unique voice and abilities as composer and songwriter of popular songs, she continues to be a visible and enjoyable jazz icon in contemporary jazz music. There is nobody just like her, for she is one of a special kind. Her piano stylings continue to dazzle and hypnotize! 

Elais began studying piano at age seven and her recording career commenced in Brazil at age seventeen. During 1981, she went to New York where in 1982, she became associated with the group named Steps Ahead.  It should also be mentioned that Eliane Elias also demonstrated her classical skills in 1993 with the release of On the Classical Side. In 2002, she recorded with internationally respected opera figure Denyce Graves in The Lost Days. There is a sensuous feel to her vocals and a clarity of tone that is perfectly suited to her performing talents. Another highly popular CD was her Dreamer released during 2004. Two songs of note in this fine collection, among others, is her interpretation of Jim Morrison and the Doors’ “Light My Fire” and Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five.” Listeners cannot help but be enchanted by the performance of her original composition, “What About the Heart,” and also “Turn to Me.” Light My Fire is a lovely, memorable encounter. Every song performance is a winner on this CD collection and well-worth the listener’s time…a fine CD collection in all aspects. Highly recommended.

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Audiophile Audition

I first ran across Eliane Elias’ music early in my stint as a DJ-host on a jazz radio station in the early 2000s. The first item of business was to learn how to pronounce her name which in the language of Brazil, Portuguese is much different than English. It is pronounced eh-lee-AH-neh eh-LEE-ahs. This amazing artist was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Her talents as a musician surfaced early and at seven years of age she was studying piano. At age fifteen she started teaching piano and improvisation at one of Brazil’s most prestigious schools of music. At seventeen she was working with Brazilian singer/songwriter Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes who was a co-writer/lyricist with Antonio Carlos Jobim. Having come from these roots she came to New York City in 1981. She has had a startling career as a pianist/vocalist with her warm, sensuous and rich voice and distinctive music style. She has over 20 albums to her credit, and has been a Grammy nominee.

Light My Fire has a mixture of Brazilian and English vocals. Four of the songs are compositions written or co-written by Elias. There are some interesting covers she presents such as “Light my Fire”, “My Cherie Amour”, and the jazz classic “Take Five”. Eliane says of this album, “I’ve made more than 20 records in my career. I’m proud of all of them, but I’m especially excited about this one. It feels like it has a life and an energy all its own”.

I had the opportunity to listen to an advance copy and it is impressive. The album opens with “Rosa Morena”. It starts with Latin-style percussion. Eliane lays down a chord rhythm for a few bars on piano and it builds. She then brings that rich warm sensuous voice singing in Portuguese accompanied by chording acoustic guitar, and I was hooked! Shivers went up my spine as I so love this style of music. “Stay Cool” sung in English has that certain sound I recall from the mid-60s when bossa nova hit the USA. “Aquele Abraço brings Eliane and Gilberto Gil together singing this composition of his in Portuguese. A delightful sounding song of inspiration described as sending out love to others in spite of his difficulties having been exiled from Brazil after spending some months in jail over political issues. “Light my Fire” is a slow and sexy version of the Jim Morrison and the Doors hit sung by Eliane in English. “My Cherie Amour”, a Stevie Wonder hit, is sung by Eliane who accompanies on piano. This song rendering is very sexy and sultry. “Toda Menina Baiana” is a very pleasant fast moving tune and has great rhythm through the vocals by Eliane, Gilberto Gil, and some back up vocalizing by Eliane’s daughter Amanda Brecker who is a singer-songwriter. “Take Five” is a slower version of Paul Desmond’s “Take Five” which Eliane lightly scats the melody accented by the muted trumpet of Randy Brecker. Eliane closes the album with “What About the Heart”. Sung in Portuguese she has a friendly sound. It is her composition speaking of “rekindling the passion and romance in a relationship that has become routine and complacent”

Light My Fire is to me a great presentation of the music of living life as lived in Brazil. Elaine Elias is a top-class artist and a joy to listen to. The recording is high quality and clear. It is a kaleidoscope of sounds, rhythms and expressions of life.

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Midwest Record

ELIANE ELIAS/Light My Fire: So why did the label let me review and album that won’t be out until 5/31/11 now? Could it be that in over two decades I’ve yet to think Elias has ever made a bad album? Could it be that she has yet to make a bad album? If you’re looking for the old pro to trip and fall, she doesn’t do it this time out either. While some of her albums are more special than others, this one is a bag breaker that is charting the course to the future. Until recently, vocals on an Elias outing were rare but here she takes it to the next level of the game. Masters thesis’s will be written about the languid, cougarisms she brings to “Light My Fire” and “My Cherie Amour” where it’s clear that she knows what she wants and the pot is cooking well past simmer, but she’s going to keep what she wants by letting you know You Da Man in a more mind melting way than all of Betty Davis’s sex soaked screaming put together. Please let me produce your cover of “Tell Me Something Good”. Not only will she make you forget The Doors, Stevie Wonder and John Davidson, she finds Latin grooves in “My Cherie Amore” that Stevie didn’t even know he put there. With a summer breeze voice that reminds of Astrid Gilberto but is more woman that coquette, Elias has rounded third and is heading toward home for that jazz Grammy next winter. Hot stuff throughout as she puts the boss in bossa nova. And you heard it from me first.

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Sounds and

Composer, singer, songwriter and pianist, Eliane Elias is the perfect example of a Brazilian artist that has had a successful career outside Brazil. Based in New York, she has recorded more than 20 albums, containing a mix of English and Portuguese lyrics, though always crucially with a Brazilian vibe.

Eliane Elias’ new release is the album Light My Fire, an eclectic selection of 12 songs mixing jazz, soul, pop, bossa nova and Brazilian grooves. As the album name suggests, Eliane Elias does a cover of The Door’s 1967 hit, as well as other personal versions of famous songs from equally famous artists such as Stevie Wonder and Paul Desmond.
Brazilian music star Gilberto Gil makes a luxurious guest appearance in three songs, including the great “Toda Menina Baiana”, one of the definite highlights of this Light My Fire.

The opening track of this album is “Rosa Morena”, a very light but yet inspired mix of different sounds and instruments. The song that gives name to the album, “Light My Fire”, is the fourth track in the album and it reveals a strong influence of Brazilian music, which made me think that Jim Morrison would be proud of Eliane Elias’ “Light My Fire”, a slow and sexy bossa nova version of The Doors’ hit.

Before Elias moves on to another great cover, this time a sexy version of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”, she finds time for some Brazilian roots and shows some of her singing skills in the classic Brazilian “anthem” “Isto Aqui O Que E? (Silver Sandal)”. Another remarkable performance in this album is on “Turn To Me (Samba Maracatu)”, a song written and produced by Eliane and Gonzaguinha, son of Brazilian music legend Luiz Gonzaga, and a legend himself. As Gonzaguinha himself died in 1991, Gilberto Gil joins Eliane Elias on vocals for this one.
“Take Five” is an innovative cover of saxophonist Paul Desmond. Although the song became first famous more than 40 years ago, in1969, performed by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, Eliane didn’t hesitate on making her own contemporary version of the song.

Another definite highlight is the last track “What About the Heart (Bate Bate)”, one of the best of Eliane’s own compositions on this album. The song is very soothing as the whole album seems to be. Eliane’s beautiful voice makes you fall in love with the album, and the last track being a romantic ballad seems to be the perfect closure to Light My Fire, a strong album, ambitious but never pretentious.

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‘Light my Fire’ Eliane Elias (Concord Picante)

‘Mi Bossa Nova’ Carmen Cuesta (Tweetyrecords)

Timing can be a blessing or a curse. Singer Carmen Cuesta could have captured any number of Brazilian music fans with her “Mi Bossa Nova.” But she has the misfortune of competing with Eliane Elias’ “Light My Fire,” an album so strong the race is won from the first steps. Elias, a fine pianist as well as a singer, offers versions of songs from her native land as well as South American-flavored versions of the title song, “My Cherie Amour” and “Take Five,” on which she does a tasty, wordless vocal. The album also gets great help from guitarists Oscar Castro-Neves and Romero Lubambo, trumpeter Randy Brecker and bassist Marc Johnson. Cuesta’s album is more tradition-bound, focusing on classics such as Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Triste” and Luis Bonfa’s “Manha de Carnaval.” It also includes a gentle version of “No More Blues.” There is nothing lacking in her effort, but it definitely takes a backup spot to the work of Elias. – Bob Karlovits

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NewCity Music

Following up on 2009’s “Bossa Nova Stories” (Blue Note), Brazil-born pianist and singer Eliane Elias continues her jazz-oriented blend of originals and Brazilian and American standards, like CD opener “Rosa Morena,” a Dorival Caymmi song that predates the late-1950s bossa nova by a few years. She also revisits classics like Paul Desmond’s “Take Five,” and  Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”  alongside “Aquele Abraco,” an uptempo samba that features its composer, Brazilian songwriter Gilberto Gil.
The CD also includes a very personal and sexy rendition of the Doors’ “Light My Fire,” which gives the album its title. Gilberto Gil also appears on two more tracks, his own “Toda Menina Baiana” and “What About The Heart (Bate Bate),” an original Elias tune co-written with late songwriter Gonzaguinha. Backing her are great players in their own right such as Romero Lubambo (guitar), Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar), husband Marc Johnson (bass) and daughter Amanda Brecker—which makes this one of this year’s most enjoyable jazz records yet. (Ernest Barteldes)

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Time Out

“[Elias is] a nonpareil keyboardist, evidence of which can be found on her new album, Light My Fire, on which she covers the Doors (of course), Paul Desmond, Stevie Wonder and more. Stellar bassist Marc Johnson anchors the band.”

EDGE Boston

Ah!… Brazil. The effervescing sound and at times, refreshingly relaxed, is on full display with “Light My Fire” by Eliane Elias. The emotional core of all the songs focuses on love’s many lovers…oh, I meant layers. Whether it is love of your fellow man, a love brought forth by circumstance or just the sparkle of good ol’ fashioned romance, Elias excels by hitting a bull’s-eye through the heart.

Elaine Elias adds her own songwriting skill to four selections while also shimmering like starlight to conjure up a slow groove of sexiness to her covers of The Doors’ “Light My Fire” and “My Cherie” by Stevie Wonder.

She describes it best on the collection of songs when she elaborates, “I’ve made more than 20 records. I’m especially excited about this one. It feels like it has a life and energy all its own. Everybody in the studio was so focused and it was such a fun record to make. Not a note was wasted by anyone. It was an amazing experience. I think it’s cool, sexy and fun.”

Slip “Light My Fire” on and relax to her passionate summertime time-out.

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All Music Guide

Review by Matt Collar
Brazilian jazz pianist, vocalist Eliane Elias’ 2011 Concord Picante debut Light My Fire is a romantic and sultry affair that showcases her knack for traditional bossa nova tunes as well as few inspired covers. Joining Elias here are a few special guests including Brazil legend Gilberto Gil, who sings on three tracks, as well as singer Amanda Brecker (Elias’ daughter with trumpeter Randy Brecker) who appears on “Toda Menina Baiana.” Also backing Elias are a bevy of talented individuals, including producer/bassist Marc Johnson, guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, percussionists Rafael Barata and Paulo Braga, and trumpeter Brecker. Along with Elias’ slow-burn take on the Doors’ title track, she delivers a stylish version of “My Cherie Amour,” adds her own lyrics to trumpeter Kenny Dorham’s “Stay Cool,” and even delves into Paul Desmond’s classic “Take Five.

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Good Sound

Brazilian born Eliane Elias is no stranger to recordings, having produced over 20 albums in a wide variety of styles. In addition to her jazz pedigree as a respected keyboard player, singer, and arranger, Elias also has a classical music background and composes original music. Light My Fire contains four of her originals and several lightly swinging laid-back bossa nova tunes. What’s likely to attract the most attention are the remarkable covers of the title song and Paul Desmond’s “Take Five.” “Light My Fire” is re-imagined as a sexy samba, and whereas Jim Morrison’s original performance demands and pleads, Elias slyly cajoles and invites. “Take Five” features wordless vocals and a new development section that Elias created. Often, her vocal line is doubled by Randy Brecker’s trumpet. The recording clearly places Brecker behind Elias, and the unanimity of phrasing makes for a somewhat eerie, ghostly impression. I was hearing this sound in my head long after I’d shelved the disc. The balances on the rest of the tracks are exemplary and satisfying, with tight bass and warm upper frequencies. All in all, this is an appealing CD that would be a perfect summertime companion.

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Wall St Journal

Single guys take note: This Brazilian pianist-singer is a great act to bring a date to hear, and Dizzy’s is easily the most romantic-looking music venue in town. Even the uninitiated could dig Ms. Elias. Her music is very similar to the breakthrough bossa nova albums of João Gilberto, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Astrid Gilberto, with Ms. Elias playing all three roles by herself. Her new release, “Light My Fire,” combines originals with North American and South American standards from both the jazz and pop sides of the fence; she’s written a set of lyrics to trumpeter Kenny Dorham’s “Stay Cool,” and given the Doors’ title track and Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” a Brazilian waxing. She also tackles “Take Five.” I was trying to figure out if she could actually play a bossa nova in 5/4, but I was enjoying myself so much that I kept losing count.

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Latin Beat Magazine

Pianist/vocalist/composer/arranger Eliane Elias delves into matters of the heart on her latest release, Light My Fire (Concord Picante). Featuring a collection of self-penned scores as well as covers of familiar all time classics such as the Jim Morrison and The Doors mega hit title track, pop icon Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour, and jazz giant Paul Desmond’s Take Five, Elias transforms these musical gems and everything she touches into passionate and joyful interpretations. Backed by a crew of such top caliber players as Gilberto Gil (guitarist/vocalist), Randy Brecker (trumpet), Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar), Marc Johnson (bass), Paulo Braga (drums), and Marivaldo dos Santos (percussion), Elias takes us on a musical voyage of the heart while touching on the romantic, sexy and passionate sides of Brazilian jazz. Another highlight of this recording is the participation of singer-songwriter Amanda Brecker (Elias’ daughter) joining mom and Gil on the track Toda Menina Baiana (a rhythmic and joyful samba). Other personal favorites include the title track Light My Fire, Stay Cool, and Bananeira. —Rudy Mangual

DownBeat Magazine

June has arrived. That means it’s time to find a “summer album”—a disc that will go into heavy rotation for road trips, beach walks and other outdoor festivities. The latest release from singer/pianist Eliane Elias, Light My Fire, fits the bill, with its intoxicating mixture of original and iconic songs flavored by the bossa nova vibe of her native Brazil. The title track is a smoldering arrangement of The Doors’ 1967 hit, reworked with a slow tempo and electric guitar effects (from Ross Traut) that sound like a passenger train receding into the distance on a humid night. Another wondrous surprise is Elias’ introspective, vocalese rendition of “Take Five,” which is radically different from the titanic version by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, thanks in part to a slow-burning trumpet solo from Randy Brecker. Over the course of Elias’ distinguished career (which includes more than 20 albums), she has collaborated with Herbie Hancock, Christian McBride, Toots Thielemans and many others. The great tropicalia pioneer Gilberto Gil appears on three tracks here, serving as a terrific foil and duet partner. The singers’ duet on “Aquele Abraço” is an uptempo earworm, and with “Toda Menina Baiana” they deliver a groove guaranteed to provoke head bobbing and hip swaying. Throughout the album, whenever a track threatens to become a tad too light or airy, Elias spices it up with muscular pianism. Elias’ tour schedule includes shows in Toronto (June 29), Madrid (July 18) and Seattle (Sept. 8–11).

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ABC News/Associated Press

Eliane Elias stands out from other Brazilian singers because she not only has a deep-rooted feel for the rhythms of her native land but also is fluent in the American jazz idiom after spending some 30 years in the United States.
“Light My Fire” showcases her talents as a four-tool player — singer, pianist, arranger and songwriter — with a romantic collection of classic Brazilian songs, American pop and jazz standards set to Brazilian grooves, and original tunes. She’s supported by top flight Brazilian and American musicians, including her rhythm section of guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, drummer Paulo Braga and her husband, bassist Marc Johnson.
Elias turns her attention beyond bossa nova to the hot Afro-Caribbean rhythms of Brazil’s northern Bahia region, opening with a percussive arrangement of Dorival Caymmi’s “Rosa Morena.” Several tracks mark her first-ever recordings with legendary guitarist-vocalist Gilberto Gil, with the two engaging in some intricate and exuberant vocal interplay on Gil’s uptempo bossa nova “Aquele Abraco” and his Afro-beat-inflected “Toda Menina Baiana.”
She turns down the heat to a sensual simmer on the Brazilian-flavored American covers — including a breezy rendition of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” with her piano deftly accenting her vocals and a slow, alluring bossa nova version of “Light My Fire” that smoothes out the rough edges of the original by Jim Morrison and The Doors.
Elias’ personal Brazilian jazz blend shines through on her own compositions with lyrics in both Portuguese and English — particularly the dreamily romantic ballad “Made in Moonlight” and the passionate and pulsating “What About the Heart (Bate Bate),” which closes this appealing CD that’s a fitting soundtrack for warm summer nights.
CHECK THIS TRACK OUT: On “Take Five,” Elias offers a strikingly original take on Dave Brubeck Quartet saxophonist Paul Desmond’s odd-metered jazz classic with her cool, breathy wordless vocals accompanied by ex-husband Randy Brecker’s muted trumpet.

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Review by John Stevenson

With vocals that simply drip sensuality, and a polished piano technique that has established her as one of the most talented practitioners on today’s jazz scene, Sao Paulo-born Eliane Elias is a formidable artist.

Her latest recording points in parts to a predilection for 1960s pop, with a molasses slow and oddly funereal take on Robby Krieger’s Light My Fire (Jim Morrison and The Doors). Stevie Wonder’s My Cherie Amour is coated in an attractively gentle bossa, alongside an innovative cover of Paul Desmond’s Take Five.

Legendary singer-guitarist Gilberto Gil’s guest spot on this session is definitely one of its sunniest highlights. On the 1969 hit song Aquele Abraco, Eliane and Gil relive the feverish tempo of Brazilian art and political engagement. And they push the funk quotient skyward with their infectious rendition of Toda Menina Baiana.

The musicians accompanying Elias all turn in stellar performances. They include guitarists Romero Lubambo and Oscar Castro-Neves, husband and bassist Marc Johnson, ex-husband Randy Brecker, veteran drummer Paulo Braga, percussionist Marivaldo dos Santos and young daughter Amanda Brecker. Following closely on 2009’s Bossa Nova Stories (Blue Note), Light My Fire accomplishes a delicate balance between the connected worlds of ultra-cool jazz, sexy bossa nova pieces and timeless pop anthems.

source link: SoundWaves

Even after more than 20 records over the course of 30 years, Brazilian jazz singer/pianist/composer/arranger Eliane Elias’ creative and passionate fire has yet to go out.

The Sao Paulo native expertly combines tunes by the Doors, Stevie Wonder and Paul Desmond with four originals, plus classics penned by Dori Caymmi and singing/composing legend Gilberto Gil.

Backed by a combo of top Brazilian and American musicians, Elias plies her distinctly alluring and sultry voice into songs rendered in Portuguese and English. No matter the genre – be it a pop tune, jazz standard or rock classic – the result is always a shimmering, sunny bout of jazz sweetened with bossa nova and samba touches. She turns the Doors’ “Light My Fire” into a slow, simmering bossa nova dirge, while “Isto Aqui O Que E” oozes with the essence of joyful Brazilian jazz.

Heated by Elias’ creative and nimble hands and voice, “Light My Fire” will re-ignite anyone’s love for classic Brazilian jazz and pop.

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New York Observer

The New York cabaret season is humming to a close, but before waxing that bikini line and heading for the beach, take note: The big rooms are saving the best for last. Smoldering like an ember on a rainy night, the peerless Brazilian singer-pianist Eliane Elias has been packing them in at Dizzy’s Coca-Cola, New York’s best jazz club and the only room in town where the food is as great as the music. With a voice as smoky and warm as a dark Creole roux, she is currently celebrating her new Concord Jazz CD, “Light My Fire”—and boy, does she ever. Accompanied by a tumultuous Brazilian jazz combo headed by her husband, Marc Johnson, on acoustic bass (“He’s from Omaha, Neb., but he has a Brazilian heart”), she provides some of the most sensual, un-gimmicky sounds in our digital world. Swinging in chords is always a thrill and she really knows how. The CD has three duets with the unsurpassed Gilberto Gil, and even outside the recording studio, she plays around with tempos like she’s mixing cocktails.

Maybe it’s the Portuguese, but Brazilian singers seem to make more sounds with their vocal chords than anyone else. Shapely and ladylike at first, when she kicks off her heels and goes to work on the pedals in her nylons, she really heats the gumbo.  Think of Ellen Barkin playing a chanteuse on a nightclub stage owned by gangsters in an old black-and-white Hollywood musical, and you get the visuals. From familiar favorites like the Dave Brubeck theme song “Take Five” and Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” to her original composition “Bate Bate” (pronounced “Batchi-Batchi,” what the beat of the human heart sounds like in Rio), the sambas overflow in a throwback to the surprising, infectious rhythms that started the bossa nova craze 50 years ago. But Eliane Elias is also fresh, contemporary and sexy, taking classics by João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim in a whole new direction. There really is nobody like her, and you owe it to yourself to catch her while the mic is still hot. Buy “Light My Fire”—it will cool your summer. – Rex Reed

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World Music

The connections between Brazilian music, jazz and pop are longstanding, and Sao Paulo-born pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias knows that. She’s among those who’ve kept such connections strong. But she’s gone further, even to the point of recorded works in classical and operatic mode.
Light My Fire doesn’t go so far afield but still plays to many of her strengths, starting with the subtle buildup of Dori Caymmi’s “Rosa Morena” and Kenny Dorham’s well-advised “Stay Cool” before jumping into duet mode alongside Gilberto Gil on Gil’s political exile tale “Aquele Abraco.”
 ….[Elias] has a smoky go at Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour,” does some more sweet sparring with Gil on both the afoxe-flavored “Toda Menina Baiana” and Gonzaguinha co-composition “Turn To Me (Samba Maracatu)” and even freshens a piece as familiar as “Take Five.”
Original compositions are the minority but “Made In Moonlight” and “What About The Heart (Bate Bate)” prove to be warm, inviting reminders that Elias has plenty of worthwhile sentiments of her own. Plus she’s got players such as trumpet expert Randy Brecker on hand to make Light My Fire (on which she did all the arranging and a good part of the producing) a slinky, satisfying soundtrack for many an occasion.
I expect to be reaching for this album repeatedly in those warm summer months that are just around the corner. Or in any kind of weather, really.

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Rekindling the Fire – World Music Central

Brazilian pianist, vocalist and composer Eliane Elias explores Afro-Brazilian rhythms in her latest album, titled Light My Fire. This time she has regained her fiery piano and vocal energy by adding samba and Afro-Brazilian beats from Bahia.
Light My Fire includes five originals by Elias as well as covers of musical works by songwriters such as rock legend Jim Morrison and The Doors, soul star Stevie Wonder and jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond.

Eliane Elias mixes powerful rhythmic pieces with intimate ballads. Throughout the album she performs a series of her superb piano solos. “Some of the tunes are cool and laid back, but others are quite rhythmic and joyful,” says Elias. “And they have some different grooves. I tend to gravitate toward romance – beautiful melodies, beautiful harmonies and rhythms with a great feel. But more than anything else, I’m singing about love on this record in its different aspects and dimensions.”
Light My Fire includes numerous talented musicians like legendary guitarist/vocalist Gilberto Gil and jazz trumpeter Randy Brecker. Her outstanding rhythm section includes renowned guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Paulo Braga, percussionist Marivaldo dos Santos, drummer Rafael Barata, guitarists Romero Lubambo and Ross Traut, and flutist Lawrence Feldman. Elias’ daughter, singer-songwriter Amanda Brecker appears on Other Also on hand to sing with Elias and Gil on “Toda Menina Baiana.” Although I’m not a big fan of jazzified rock songs, the electric slide guitar work by Ross Straut is outstanding in “Light My Fire.

“I’ve made more than 20 records in my career,” says Eliane Elias. “I’m proud of all of them, but I’m especially excited about this one. It feels like it has a life and an energy all its own. With very few exceptions, nearly all of the songs were first takes. Everybody in the studio was so focused, and it was such a fun record to make. The music was really flowing, and we all felt very relaxed. From the very first day, not a note was wasted by anyone. It was an amazing experience.”

“I’m very excited about the music on this album,” concludes Elias. “I think it’s cool, sexy and fun. This recording is the truest expression of what I’m doing right now, and it represents very closely what people hear me doing live in concert.”
Light My Fire is a striking combination of jazz and Afro-Brazilian rhythms by one of the most interesting Brazilian musicians based in the United States.

source link: Elias

JazzTimes Magazine

Bright as August along the Costa de Sol and breezy as an Hawaiian lanai, the latest from Brazilian pianist-vocalist-arranger Eliane Elias is possibly the most refreshing summertime jazz album since Getz met the Gilbertos. Blending Brazilian classics, original compositions and pop and jazz standards, Elias plays and sings exquisitely on all 12 selections, surrounding herself with the same number of exemplary artists, including her ex-husband Randy Brecker on trumpet, bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Paulo Braga, guitar greats Oscar Castro-Neves and Romero Lubambo and legendary guitarist-vocalist Gilberto Gil.

Elias’ slow, sensual treatment of the Door’s title track is a masterpiece of musical foreplay, her dusky reinterpretation of “Take Five” and gossamer cover of Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour” equally enticing. Her lilting exploration of Gil’s farewell valentine to Rio, “Aquele Abraço”, complete with a whispered nod to the composer, positively shimmers, and she shapes her own billet doux to her native country’s joyful resilience with the vibrant “Isto Aqui O Que E”. Also new is “What About the Heart (Bate Bate),” a mellow wish for rekindled romance. Dipping into her own history, Elias includes the two-decade-old (though never previously recorded) “Turn to Me (Samba Maracatu),” sculpted, with vocal assistance from Gil, as a sparkling tribute to her co-writer, the great Luiz Gonzaguinha do Nascimento Jr.

RJ on Jazz

Eliane Elias Shows a Captivating Charm to Merge with Monster Musical Talent

Eliane Elias was a fantastic pianist when she came from her native Sao Paulo to New York City in 1981. She’s already worked with some of the best Brazilian musicians as a teenager. Her early albums show a pianist with monster chops, but with the ability to display delicate beauty. Passion and emotion. 

She did a vocal album of Antonio Carlos Jobim music (Eliane Elias Sings Jobim, Blue Note, 1998) but admits she was a bit tentative with her singing. Since then, her soft, sensual voice has become more of a mainstay in her work. Dreamer (Bluebird, 2004) was a delight, as was and Boss Nova Stories (Blue Note, 2008). More surety in the vocals.

With Brazilian music, she’s obviously at home and nails the material, but other songs she selects come joyfully to life.

Now there’s Light My Fire, out this year on Concord. It’s not that dissimilar in content to her recent vocal outings, but her masterful piano has a strong presence, her singing seems to grow stronger. Her band is tight. It’s a record that’s jumped up the musical charts. In support of it,. She’s on a huge tour that takes her and her sparkling band around the world. Not too many artists can boast of such an itinerary. It’s warming to see a performer of such class, style and talent get the support of fans and the music industry.

An fans, she has in large numbers. Her live concerts are always enchanting because the musicianship is so high. At Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival in Saratoga Springs, NY, in June, the band was full of energy.

She did songs from the new CD, as well as some from past albums. Romero Lubambo joined on guitar. Marc Johnson, one of the finest bassists out there, is still at the hub of the rhythm and percussionist Marlvaldo dos Santos adds a great layer to the sound. The band sizzles and Elias‘ voice adds the charm and sensuality

“I’m truly very excited with this album,” she said after the concert at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This album, from the very beginning, had a force of its own. It’s doing so well. It’s so wonderful to see. When you do the work, and the way it’s being received by critics, by the people … You saw the show. You see how people love it. There’s such energy. We’re very happy about it.”

It’s a joyous event when this band plays. So much that the superior musicianship might slide under the radar. But listen closely and see what’s at work. Fantastic music, great piano. 

The band had been in South America and from SPAC was off to Canada. The Europe, South America again, Central America, to the United States and back to Europe. Then the U.S. and Asia. So much of the world will get to see it.

“I always brought different elements of Brazilian music, but I’ve done a lot of albums that were more instrumental. This is a vocal album that still has a lot of piano. But this album, with the vocals has more of a variety of elements of Brazilian music, than just the bossa nova. There’s some music from the north of brazil, from Bahia. And some Afro-Brazilian rhythms. Then we have percussion added,” she said. “It’s a very special album and it has an aspect to it that is different than the others. It has some very sexy moments. It has moments that are very cool, vibey. But also a lot of rhythm, groove and romance. It has different things that worked so nice together.”

Elias has found a way to get everything to work together. 

Though she says her first love is jazz, having been influenced by the greats like Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett, she also loves the music of Brazil and puts a stamp on it that is now her own. It’s intimate and joyous.

And her playing still smokes. Don’t be surprised if more hard-core jazz albums emerge as Elias’ career continues its growth. This is a first-rate musician whose accolades, and awards that have been amassed along the way, are well deserved.

In concert, it’s invigorating.

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10 joyas del jazz latino
El género continúa desatando pasiones, aun en el nuevo milenio.
por: Ernesto Lechner | 19 de agosto de 2011

Eliane Elias 
Take Five
No es fácil el arte de Eliane Elias. Proveniente de Sao Paulo, la pianista y cantante brasileña toca música suave, sutil y sensual. En otras manos, el mismo estilo se transformaría en música para supermercados y ascensores. Pero Elias tiene un gusto irreprochable y el virtuosismo de su piano aparece cuando tiene que aparecer. Durante su adolescencia, trabajó con Toquinho y el poeta de la bossa nova, Vinicius de Moraes. Trasladarse a Estados Unidos le permitió desarrollar una carrera fructífera en el jazz latino, con docenas de discos que enfatizan las melodías de la samba, el jazz y la bossa. Un ejemplo perfecto de sus habilidades es esta flamante versión vocal de la archiconocida Take Five de Dave Brubeck. Elias la reviste de terciopelo

Riveting Riffs

Elegant is one way to describe Light My Fire, the new album release by Brazilian pianist-singer-songwriter Eliane Elias, who while still in her teens was mentored by fellow Brazilians, singer-songwriter Toquinho and Vinicius de Moraes who co-wrote and served as the lyricist for Antonio Carlos Jobim.  While heavily influenced by Jazz it would be far too limiting to describe Elias’ new album as simply a Jazz recording. The elements of Pop and Adult Contemporary are evident throughout the songs.

Breathtaking is the word that comes to mind while listening to the title song, as Ms. Elias accompanies herself beautifully on piano, while bassist Marc Johnson’s and drummer Paulo Braga’s playing is so subtle, it is like whispering in your lover’s ear.  Eliane Elias’ voice is seductive and her phrasing is evocative.

The second song on Light My Fire, “Stay Cool,” possesses an airy, upbeat melody, incredible percussion by Marivaldo dos Santos and a stirring performance by Ms. Elias on the piano. “Stay Cool,” sets the mood for an album that is romantic, at times, as she takes time flirting with, teasing and seducing the listener.

Several of the songs on this delicious album are over 4:00 in length and yet never does the listener grow weary. Quite the contrary, the listener is left wanting more, such as the lively “Toda Menina Baiana,” a song on which Eliane Elias is joined by vocalists Gilberto Gil and Ms. Elias’ daughter Amanda Brecker.

Although surrounded by a cast of very accomplished musicians which also includes, guitarists Romero Lubambo, Ross Traut and Gilberto Gil, drummer Rafael Barata, trumpeter Randy Brecker and flutist Lawrence Feldman, make no mistake that the centerpiece of this breathtaking recording is Eliane Elias. Eliane Elias’ gentle, whispering vocals on “Made In Moonlight,” serve as a beautiful love letter to the one whom the singer invites to share her heart. The words “imagination please come true, I am so in love with you,” also describe the listener’s experience, as it is easy to imagine looking into the eyes of that special someone, gently caressing a cheek or saying, I love you.

“More than anything else, I’m singing about love on this record in its different aspects and dimensions,” says Eliane Elias. Singing “It’s all about the heart,” Ms. Elias’ original composition “What About The Heart (Bate Bate),” is performed in both Portuguese and English and expresses the desire to reignite the passion and romance in a relationship that has become routine and complacent. Eliane Elias explains that “Bate Bate,” represents the sound of a quietly beating heart. It is difficult to imagine that this year, we will hear an album from another singer, who so aptly expresses the desires of a heart that longs for romance, in the way that Eliane Elias evokes those feelings with her vocal performance on Light My Fire.
Paul Desmond’s “Take Five,” is presented more with vocalese than it is with Eliane Elias singing words and yet the listener is so captivated by the beauty of her voice that if there were lyrics one suspects the song would be overstated. The percussion is subtle and Randy Brecker’s trumpet is debonair.  Ms. Elias’ presentation of “Take Five,” is enchanting. Eliane Elias has created a musical masterpiece with Light My Fire, an album that will sweep you away to another place and time, find a special place in your heart and leave you longing for the one you love or to be in love again. The arrangements are breathtaking, the musicianship is exquisite and Eliane Elias is elegant. This is a Grammy Award worthy performance by one of the most gifted ladies on the music scene today, in any genre.

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Jazzwise Magazine

Eliane Elias slows things right down on new album Light My Fire, delivering a remarkably sensuous sounding record that draws within its reach bossa nova, the jazz traditions which Elias has played all her career, and her belief in the power of intuitive improvisation. Interview; Peter Quinn.

It’s not just slow. It’s breathtakingly slow. There’s a syncopated, two-chord vamp in the piano. While the bassist marks each chord change on the beat, the drummer’s brushes subtly reinforce the pianist’s syncopation. Emerging out of this three-part texture are the sustained single notes of an overdriven guitar. Bathed in a luxuriant reverb, the overall effect is the musical equivalent of a heat haze. You almost expect to see your speakers glowing like hot coals. Then, after what is only in fact an eight-bar introduction, yet feels like time itself has been suspended – and deliciously phrased behind the beat – the ice cool vocal kicks in. “You knowww that it would beee untrue…”

You could argue until hell freezes over about whether it’s possible for a cover version to improve on the original. To argue whether a cover version can be sexier than the original, on the other hand, is a different matter entirely. You’d actually need just a single piece of evidence to win your case hands down: the title track of Light My Fire, the new album from the Sao Paolo-born, New York-based pianist, vocalist and composer Eliane Elias.

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Eliane Elias offers a sultry take on jazz, by way of Brazil
By Tad Hendrickson
 For The Star-Ledger

The intersection of jazz, pop and Brazilian music has been a particularly fruitful hybrid for more than 50 years. Brazilians are adept at taking classic rock and pop melodies and fusing them to their native rhythms; and every jazz musician has contended with landmark works by Antônio Carlos Jobim and others. As someone who was born and raised in Brazil and lived her adult life in New York, pianist and singer Eliane Elias has pushed and pulled at these influences over the years. Her latest album, “Light My Fire,” takes its name from the Doors song she recorded for the album, but the CD is decidedly Brazilian in nature.

On Sunday, she will lead a quintet at the State Theatre that features bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Mark Walker, guitarist Rubens de La Corte and percussionist Marivaldo Dos Santos. The intimate show — all 192 seats will be on the theater’s stage — will be part of the venue’s fifth annual New Jersey Blues & Jazz Festival, which also features Billy Branch and the Sons of Blues, the Larry Coryell Trio and the Tito Puente Jr. Orchestra. “We’ll play a lot of the music we recorded for the CD, but we will, of course, stretch it out so it features everyone from the band,” says Elias, 51. “And we will be presenting a lot of the music from Brazil. Of course, there is bossa nova, but we also go beyond the bossa nova to the Afro-Brazilian rhythms from the north of Brazil because of Marivaldo, who is from Bahia.”

Brazilian pop also makes an appearance on “Light My Fire,” thanks to presence of the legendary Gilberto Gil on three songs. Ace guitarists Romero Lubambo and Oscar Castro-Neves and a battery of drummers also appear on the session, but Elias’ sultry voice and richly detailed piano playing are front and center throughout. The album has been universally well received, with the Elias original “What About the Heart (Bate Bate)” recently nominated for a Latin Grammy.

“Before I picked the material for the album, I came up with the concept,” says Elias. “I lean toward romantic songs — not romantic songs about loss, but romantic songs about yearning for one’s love, or a country, or whatever it is. It was to be something positive and romantic, especially for this record.”

If there were an overlying theme to Elias’ career, it would be that it is ever-evolving. Born in São Paulo to a musical family, she studied classical music and jazz as a child, eventually becoming so proficient in her teens that she transcribed classic jazz piano solos and taught at conservatory.

In 1981, she relocated to New York, where she studied at Juilliard and embarked upon a career as a straight-ahead pianist. She didn’t start recording vocal tracks until 1991 and didn’t do so regularly until 10 years after that. At the same time, her sets drew upon her roots more and more.
“When I first came to New York, I was establishing myself as a jazz pianist first, then I brought in more and more of Brazil, but instrumentally,” she says. “In the last several years, it has been the voice and the piano integrated. At first, I couldn’t imagine a show where I would sing something, but now I sing and play on every song.”

Any Brazilian will tell you that dancing is also an integral part of the musical experience, and Elias is no different — she’s taken to dancing onstage for a song, not only illustrating the Brazilian rhythms but also how comfortable she has become in her role as singer and bandleader as well as pianist. “I’ll be doing it in very high heels,” she says of her dancing, laughing at the absurdity of it. “When I sit down, I play barefoot. When I stand up, I’m in very high heels. It comes naturally, I guess.”

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