Eliane Elias: A Study in Longevity

Nick Catalano BY

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It must be more than 30 years or so since I went to the Blue Note to review a new vocalist/ pianist/ composer/ teacher who had just arrived from São Paulo with a musical entourage and extended family members. Inordinately glamorous and confidently poised, Eliane Elias sat at the piano playing the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim whose music was still in ascendancy in the U.S. The performance of this lithesome chanteuse who had begun playing as youngster, was enjoyable but didn't rank with that of many who had jumped on the Jobim bandwagon and taken advantage of his enormous appeal.

Since that time Elias has steadfastly adhered to her formula and, weaving her way through multiple recording contracts, has delivered over two dozen solo albums, a host of collaborative recordings, and all the while gained impressive worldwide popularity. Along the way she has garnered Grammy nominations from several countries and arrived as a winner in 2015 with her album Made in Brazil. Her performances have several times appeared on Billboard chart listings and, at age 59, she recently celebrated a 50th anniversary of sorts of Bossa Nova music.

In her current release Love Stories on Concord Jazz Elias once again employs orchestrator Robert Matheson to enhance matters. For many years a fan of the string arrangements Claus Ogerman provided for Jobim, she incorporates Mathes' writing on this outing with admirable results. The opening track—theme from the film A Man and a Woman—is the best illustration of the collaboration between leader and orchestrator/ arranger.

In the tune "Little Boat" the composer Roberto Menescal plays guitar and evokes the essence of this famous Brazilian standard with predictable excellence.

Thus once again Eliane Elias returns to the tried and true formula which has certainly brought her success for decades and the present recording will no doubt get positive reception from her loyal audiences everywhere.

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