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Eliane Elias: Sweet Vocals Join Splendid Piano

By Published: September 21, 2004
In fact, she is one of the sidemen on the next album of bassist Marc Johnson, which comes out on ECM records next year that also features drummer Joey Baron, guitarist John Scofield and saxophonist Joe Lovano. She also composed a couple songs for the album. "It's very representative for me of the work I do as a pianist and composer in jazz" showing her more virtuoso side.

The product of a musical household, Elias had access to American jazz records as a young child in Sao Paolo and listened to Tatum, Garner and others, transcribing solos and playing along with records. She studied at Sao Paulo's prestigious Free Center of Music Apprenticeship and by the time she was 15, was appointed music director of the piano department and was teaching master classes. At age 17, she was musical director for bands of Antonio Carlos Jobim. She worked steadily in Brazil came to the United States in 1981, where her reputation as a superb pianist spread fast in New York City. Soon, she was part of the band Steps Ahead. Over the years, in addition to her consistently fine recordings, she's had career playing with many of the greats.

Elias has been touring with a quartet in the United States and Europe all year, and that will continue into 2005, including stop in Asia. She doesn't carry an orchestra, but notes, "all of the basic arrangements were written for the quartet and the orchestra was added for color and to accentuate. No one will miss the orchestra. I stretch out more live than I do on record."

She's grateful for the success, especially in times when many talented musicians are having a hard time finding work. "So many name musicians with reputations cannot get club dates. In instrumental music, artists are being dropped my record labels because the music is not selling. It's sad. I hope it gets better' I'm glad I'm doing this (vocal CD) at this time. Who knows, it might have happened to me. What would I be doing?"

Elias also sees that in these times of war and economic hardship for many, music is needed "now more than ever... When I go to perform concerts. I am a musician, a composer, a pianist, a singer, but I'm also an entertainer. I see people so thirsty and so in need of being entertained' People want to have a good time, and entertainers should provide that."

"It's important to touch people's hearts with music, but also present something positive. There is a need for positives," she says.

Plans are in the works for another Bluebird Jazz CD and she is in the process of selecting songs and writing for the recording.

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Eliane Elias: Music for All Purposes



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