Album Remarks & Appraisals:
Now based in New York, Eliane Elias was born in Sao Paolo and grew up as a child prodigy on the piano during the 60's when Bossa Nova was conquering the world. Following the critically acclaimed Blue Note album "Eliane Sings and Plays Bill Evans" and 2 sold out shows at London's famed Ronnie Scott's in May, this album is a collection of Bossa Nova classics and bossa interpretations of some other classic songs performed with an all-star band of completely new recordings. Eliane is simply one of the world's great jazz pianists and her voice suits the Bossa Nova style perfectly. She is now one of the foremost interpreters of this style of music and this album is one of the best and most sought-after from the whole range of 50th anniversary releases this year.
Down Beat (p.90) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "Elias wows on a simmering 'Chega De Saudade,' her vocals butterfly light, the arrangement sunny and glittering."
JazzTimes (p.98) - "[With] a hushed, dusky rendering of 'Estate' that shimmers with a warm mysteriousness that suggest the majestic Cristo bathed in purple twilight."
Billboard (p.33) - "The album opens with an elegant cover of 'The Girl From Ipanema,' which Elias reprises in dazzling fashion in English and Portugese."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]nother near-flawless recording, superbly balancing gloss with groove."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.103) - 4 stars out 5 -- "It's packed with languorous vocal performances reminiscent of Astrud Gilberto and an opulent sonic palette featuring crystalline piano solos, wistful harmonica melodies and the lush backdrop of a string orchestra."
Personnel: Eliane Elias (vocals, piano); Ivan Lins (vocals); Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar); Toots Thielemans (harmonica); Marc Johnson (bass instrument); Paulo Braga (drums, percussion).
Audio Mixer: Joe Ferla.
Liner Note Author: Eliane Elias .
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY; EMI Abbey Road Studios, London, England.
Arrangers: Eliane Elias ; Rob Mathes.
Eliane Elias returns to the music of her native Brazil with this collection of bossa nova favorites, though there are a few American standards and pop songs recast as bossa novas as well. The pianist has grown in confidence as a vocalist over the course of several CDs, developing a sexy yet never overdone style that beautifully complements the music. With her husband Marc Johnson (who has also been her longtime bassist of choice), drummer Paulo Braga, either Oscar Castro-Neves or Ricardo Vogt on acoustic guitar, and a pair of guests, Elias proves herself as a talented singing pianist, effortlessly switching between English and Portuguese lyrics. Some of the tracks add string orchestrations, yet they never overwhelm the arrangements. Highlights include the easygoing rendition of "The More I See You," the relaxed and sensual treatment of "Estate (Summer)" (which adds Toots Thielemans on harmonica), "I'm Not Alone (Who Loves You?)" (which includes composer Ivan Lins in a vocal duet with Elias), and a surprisingly effective setting of Stevie Wonder's "Superwoman" (with Thielemans making another guest appearance). Eliane Elias remains one of the top bossa nova interpreters, in addition to her skills in many other jazz styles. ~ Ken Dryden