Eliane Elias: The Three Americas

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that combine the best of her native music with the American straight-ahead jazz tradition, usually utilizing the standard acoustic piano trio format. Her previous CD, "Solos and Duets," found her improvising eloquently by herself and holding her own with piano legend Herbie Hancock.

This time, she has expanded her format, both in terms of performing with a larger ensemble and in terms of absorbing musical influences from throughout North, South, and Central America, as the CD title implies. For example, Gil Goldstein plays accordian on "Chorango," recalling a tango from Argentina, and flutist Dave Valentin lends his Puerto Rican heritage to several others. Oscar Castro-Neves guests on acoustic guitar on a pair of Antonio Carlos Jobim-Vinicius de Moraes tunes. All of the other tunes save one are Elias originals.

What makes this album a success is that Elias is able to combine these various influences into a remarkably cohesive whole. The program is consistently passionate and enjoyable.

Record Label: Blue Note Records

Style: Contemporary/Smooth

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