A Grammy-winning Brazilian pianist and songstress with a sultry voice, impeccable phrasing, and romantic flair chooses to take on the many feelings and emotions of love for her next record. That would seem like a natural fit. To say that this is in the wheelhouse of Eliane Elias is to be the master of the obvious. But if you listen intently you will hear just how fervently she dove into the deep end of the pool of love. The love scenes about to unfold were romanticized by lavish strings and orchestration prevalent throughout the bossa-nova-tinged Love Stories.
As if a temptress leading you on to your next liaison, the record opens with a provocatively hushed Elias melding with the broad orchestral arrangement in the theme song from the 1966 Oscar winning French film A Man and a Woman. Now more than a light and catchy pop song, "Baby Come to Me," has an array of spices added to the recipe. Take 6 vocalist Mark Kibble mixes a dash of his rich harmony to Elias's tasty come-hither ingredients. The instrumental arrangement on this tune is among the most flavorful on the album. "Bonita," written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, is sung with unfeigned delight and with the sincerest of Elias' expressionism. Her piano offers a soft, yet significant, role in the elegance of its presentation. A tune generally thought of in connection with Frank Sinatra is next as the romance continues to develop. Elias gives "Angel Eyes" a wink and a sparkle that make it her own. One great Sinatra tune begets another as the high-spirited "Come Fly with Me" kicks in. Sinatra took listeners to a wonderous fantasy land that they could revisit every time they heard him sing it. Elias emotes an earnest invitation of frankness (no pun intended) to a beautiful place to which listeners might actually travel. Elias stretches instrumentally and rides a vibrant groove with her ensemble.
The relationship gets mature with the Elias original, "The Simplest Things." It's a song of imagery that few could sing with such feeling, vulnerability and believability. Lyrically profound, it eschews the superficial and dares to appreciate what matters most. The anguish of love is addressed with "Silence." Elias digs deep into her soul in order to touch listeners. Love is beautiful. Love is sweet. But "Silence" examines the heartbreaks in genuine and truthful fashion. Brighter days are found as we sail in her "Little Boat." The mood kicks way up with an adventurous piano solo that ripples along the coast of the sea of orchestration. The story comes to a close with an exploration of the sexy and passion-laced allure of love. Elias bids us adieu, until we meet again, with the full flight of her voice, phrasing, and discerning pianism on "The View." This amorous aspect of love is illustrated by Elias's signature poetic sound.
Love Stories is both substantial and relatable. The mood it creates and the place it takes you to are like a vacation you wish would never end.
A Man and a Woman; Baby Come To Me; Bonita; Angel Eyes; Come Fly With Me; The Simplest Things: Silence; Little Boat; The View.
Eliane Elias: vocals and piano; Marc Johnson: bass; Mark Kibble: background vocal; Marcus Teixeira: guitar; Daniel Santiago: guitar; Robert Menescal: guitar; Edu Rieeiro: drums; Rafael Barate: drums; Paulo Braga: drums; Celso de Almeida: drums.
Title: Love Stories
| Year Released: 2019
| Record Label: Concord Jazz