Personnel: Eliane Elias (vocals, piano); Michael Brecker (tenor saxophone); Oscar Castro-Neves (acoustic guitar, background vocals); Marc Johnson (acoustic bass, background vocals); Paulo Braga (drums, bongos, background vocals); Cafe (percussion); Amanda Brecker, Christine Martin, Elza Silva (background vocals).
Recorded at Avatar Studios, New York, New York.
Think you know "The Girl From Ipanema?" Think again. As Eliane Elias sings it on the opening cut of ELIANE ELIAS SINGS JOBIM, it's a breezy seduction, a bittersweet blend of flirtation and regret. Elias burst on the New York jazz scene in the early 1980s as the pianist in Steps Ahead. Here she leads a group of acknowledged Brazilian masters (and the masterful American bassist Marc Johnson) through 16 of Jobim's chestnuts and more obscure gems.
Elias' breathy, uninflected alto, reminiscent of Jobim's, conveys the deeply romantic yearning inherent in Jobim's work. Her piano playing swings with simple beauty. Piquant chord passages give way to silvery, slightly hesitant single note lines. Guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves offers sparkling and complex support throughout, most dramatically on the duet "Falando de Amor." "Song of the Jet" rises skyward on the eerily ascending chord progression and is propelled by the hushed cymbal-and-brushes work of drummer Paulo Braga.