4

Marc Johnson / Eliane Elias: Swept Away

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Marc Johnson / Eliane Elias: Swept Away Swept Away is certainly a collaborative effort—co-led by Eliane Elias and bassist Marc Johnson—but it seems more like the pianist's set. The Sao Paolo-born pianist, Elias, penned five of the disc's eleven tunes, and co-wrote two more with her musical/life partner, Johnson. The duo, in league with drummer Joey Baron and, on five tunes, saxophonist Joe Lovano, has produced the most sumptuous music imaginable, beginning with the Elias-penned title tune—a floating trio effort, a sensual haiku to unadorned beauty.

Elias' debt to iconic pianist Bill Evans is obvious in the refined delicacy of her touch. The connection is there: she offered up a stunning tribute to Evans with her 2008 Blue Note Release, Something for You: Eliane Elias Sings and Plays Bill Evans; Johnson was Evans' bassist in the late 1970s. Evans—perhaps the most influential jazz pianist of the last fifty years—had an approach that was very harmonically sophisticated and highly cerebral. Elias can play from the head, but more often her sound seems to come from the heart.

Lovano comes in on the second tune, "It's Time," another Elias original. At this point, very few saxophonists can be considered his equal. Lovano's rich-toned expressiveness, the elasticity of his lines and his malleable and cliché-free poetics in his play with the melody—matched in the saxophone world only by altoist Lee Konitz—injects a blue hue into Elias' late night sparkle.

If Elias is playing from the heart on the disc's first two tunes, the music bubbles up from the gut on the danceable, hard-driving "One Thousand and One Nights," a trio tune where the pianist wears her immense technical proficiency and joy of creation on her sleeve, with Baron adding some pop while Johnson's bass pushes the sound forward. Johnson's "When the Sun Comes Up" wanders, via Lovano's saxophone, into a lazy dawn, picking up momentum as the day brightens and Elias adds a cool flow of angular notes to the bounce of the Johnson/Baron rhythm section.

Elias' "B is for Butterfly," could serve as a soundtrack to the rising of the monarchs at the beginning of their migration—bright, lighter than air, awe-inspiring in its natural beauty.

Swept Away is a magical release, eclipsing even the magnificent Shades of Jade (ECM Records, 2005), which employed the same cast (along with guitarist John Scofield). It's got everything: Lovano's jazz Zen; Elias' romantic enchantment; and Johnson and Baron's astute and spirited interplay, which binds it all together for one of those rare, near-perfect recordings by a group of veteran artists playing (and writing) at their peak.


Track Listing: Swept Away; It's Time; One Thousand and One Nights; When the Sun Comes Up; B is for Butterfly; Midnight Blue; Moments; Sirens of Titan; Foujita; Inside Her Old Music Box; Shenandoah.

Personnel: Eliane Elias: piano; Marc Johnson: double bass; Joey Baron: drum; Joe Lovano: tenor saxophone.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: ECM Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Interviews
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Jaco Pastorius Jaco Pastorius
bass, electric
Bill Frisell Bill Frisell
guitar
John Scofield John Scofield
guitar
Charlie Haden Charlie Haden
bass, acoustic
Joshua Redman Joshua Redman
saxophone
Jim Hall Jim Hall
guitar

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "Father Figure" CD/LP/Track Review Father Figure
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 3, 2016
Read "Imagine That" CD/LP/Track Review Imagine That
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 30, 2016
Read "America's National Parks" CD/LP/Track Review America's National Parks
by John Sharpe
Published: November 11, 2016
Read "Skronky Tonk" CD/LP/Track Review Skronky Tonk
by James Nadal
Published: June 18, 2016
Read "Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute" CD/LP/Track Review Live! from the Cantina: A Star Wars Jazz Tribute
by Jim Olin
Published: March 6, 2016
Read "Born In An Urban Ruin" CD/LP/Track Review Born In An Urban Ruin
by John Sharpe
Published: January 24, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!