Love Stories Eliane Elias
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- 1A Man And A Woman03:15
- 2Baby Come To Me05:02
- 4Angel Eyes05:25
- 5Come Fly With Me05:52
- 6The Simplest Things03:59
- 8Little Boat05:48
- 9The View04:17
Info zu Love Stories
Eliane Elias ascends to a new echelon of artistic expression with the August 30, 2019 release of Love Stories on Concord Jazz. A multi-hyphenate musician whose recent releases Made in Brazil (2015), Dance of Time (2017) and Man of La Mancha (2018) have earned her multiple GRAMMY Award wins and No.1 Billboard chart debuts, Elias’ new orchestral project serves as a classic homage to love in its many facets and forms.
Love Stories is an orchestral album, revealing Elias’ mastery and preeminence as a multifaceted artist – a vocalist, pianist, arranger, composer, lyricist and producer. Sung almost entirely in English, the album features three original compositions plus seven superb arrangements of pieces from bossa nova’s golden age, including songs made famous by Frank Sinatra and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
As both an interpreter and composer, Elias inhabits the rich tradition of bossa while bringing the music into the present. She infuses familiar songs with unexpected twists that intensify the music’s evocative power – whether by creating harmonic modulations that enhance a lyric or shifting the rhythmic feel of a section to heighten its emotion – allowing the subtle complexities of her voice to take centerstage, all the while.
Noting that romantic love is just one of a wide range of ways the emotion gets manifested, Elias says, “The idea for this album was to bring to life various stories of love and loving through this collection of songs.”
As she tells those stories, Elias brings a depth of feeling to the album that comes courtesy of her evocative approach as a pianist and singer as well as the precision with which she’s able to execute her musical vision.
“From the moment of conception, it couldn’t be more integrated,” she explains. “From the first note that’s chosen, every color I create in the arrangements, the modulations, the choice of keys, the small group arranging, the possibilities for orchestra – it’s as deep into my personal taste as it can go…because I’m envisioning the arrangement; deciding how to convey the song and perform it with the band, and being mindful of the future orchestrations all at once.”
For the album, Elias invited some of her favorite Brazilian rhythm section players to join her – Marcus Texiera on guitar and Edu Ribeiro, Rafael Barata and Celso Almeida on drums – plus her core collaborators, co-producer and bassist Marc Johnson and co-producer Steve Rodby. Orchestrator Rob Mathes returns for his fourth recording with Elias as well, bringing his lush string arrangements into flawless sync with Elias’ rich harmonic and varied rhythmic approaches, as he did on her GRAMMY Award-winning 2015 album, Made in Brazil.
A celebrated interpreter of Jobim, Elias sees undercurrents of his long collaborative history with orchestrator Claus Ogerman in the working relationship she’s developed with Mathes.
Says Johnson: “Rob’s orchestrations all go so deep and are so beautifully intertwined with Eliane’s small group arrangements. He also understands voice distribution so well. He’s said that in the process of writing the arrangements, he immerses himself in the recorded basic tracks, and, in even more detail, into Eliane’s piano voicings. Rob is absolutely on the same emotional wavelength as Eliane.”
This emotional connection is essential given the circumstances from which the album was born. Elias began working on the music for Love Stories through a difficult year in which she lost her father, and four months prior to his passing, fractured her shoulder in an accident in her hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She was rendered virtually immobile for months while recovering in her apartment there. As she recuperated, her window view of breeze-tickled palm trees and balconies against the blue Sao Paulo sky became the backdrop for a new set of musical inspiration.
“During that period, I wasn’t allowed to move, my left arm was in a sling and so to avoid surgery I had to stay immobilized and really still,” she recalls. “Meanwhile, I created and wrote all of these arrangements in that state.”
The album opens with a tone-setting bossa nova groove and Elias’ sensual, velvety voice, inspiring us with the message of taking a chance on love, from the vintage pop gem of Frances Lai’s theme song from the Oscar-winning 1966 French film, “A Man and a Woman.”
It’s a seamless jump from that to Elias’ take on “Baby, Come to Me.” Made famous in the early ’80s by Patti Austin and James Ingram, the song gets reworked here in characteristic Elias fashion, as she smoothly moves from a bossa nova to a hybrid Latin feel, with brilliant harmonic and tempo modulations. Added to the backdrop of soaring strings and rich piano voicings, the tune becomes altogether new.
“I like the message of cultivating a relationship, of keeping the romance alive when you find someone you love.” says Elias, who enlisted yet another of her go-to collaborators, Take 6’s multiple GRAMMY Award-winning Mark Kibble, to cover the background vocals.
There’s a heartfelt vulnerability to Elias’ lilting, expressive singing on “Bonita,” a dreamy rendition of one of Jobim and Sinatra’s late ’60s collaborations that features some lovely interplay between the piano and orchestra alongside Elias’ delicate and nuanced vocal phrasing.
“It’s a very pure expression of someone who wants their love to be accepted and returned,” Elias says.
The Sinatra homage continues with a twinkling, sexy take on “Angel Eyes,” followed by a brilliant rendition of “Come Fly with Me” that’s re-imagined with a Brazilian groove and carries the listener away with a passionate, high-flying piano solo.
Elias explores yet another aspect of love on her warm toned original “The Simplest Things,” a rich and multi-layered musing on a love that has stood the test of time. The message here – about looking back on a love that’s matured and discovering that “the simplest things are the wonderful things” in that shared life – is a profound and sweet universal truth that we can all relate to.
On “Silence,” the album’s second original piece, the mood is decidedly more intense as Elias channels the protagonist of the story’s anguish. “My voice here is the most exposed on the album,” Elias says. “I believe that most everyone has experienced disappointment or disillusionment at some point in their lives. The question is how does one respond to that?”
A bright and buoyant rendition of “Little Boat,” where you can almost feel the waves gently undulating in time with Elias’ rocking piano solo, changes the mood again. Roberto Menescal, the song’s composer, plays the guitar on this track and the opening verse features the only moment on the recording in which Elias sings in Portuguese.
The album closes with one more original, “The View.” This story is a bit more adult and complicated, given its suggestive imagery. There’s a rendezvous and a vision of a woman rolling down her stockings – but her apparition is almost like a dream or an angel. “The story is about something more internalized,” says Elias, “somewhere between reality and imagination, erotic yet pure in love and love’s expression.”
It’s also an appropriately complex finish to an album that digs deep musically to shine new light on one of our deepest human experiences. In the process, it offers a portrait of an incomparable artist whose sound resonates from decades of experience – in music as in life.
Of the connection with her instrument Elias has said, “the piano is an extension of my body and the deepest expression of my soul.” Love Stories proves her voice now occupies that place, as well.
Eliane Elias, vocals, piano
Marc Johnson, bass
Marcus Teixeira, guitar
Daniel Santiago, guitar
Robert Menescal, guitar
Edu Rieeiro, drums
Rafael Barate, drums
Paulo Braga, drums
Celso de Almeida, drums
Mark Kibble, background vocals
is known for her distinctive and immediately recognizable musical style which blends her Brazilian roots and her sensuous, alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills.
Made in Brazil, scheduled for release on March 31, 2015 on Concord Jazz, marks a musical homecoming for Elias. In her three-decade long career as a solo artist, Made in Brazil results from the first time she’s recorded a disc in her native Brazil since moving to the United States in 1981.
Elias wears many hats on this project as producer, composer, lyricist, arranger, pianist and vocalist. Along with co-producers, Steve Rodby and Marc Johnson, her bass playing musical partner, Elias ventured ‘home’ and recruited a splendid cast of Brazilian musicians that include electric bassist Marcelo Mariano; guitarists Marcus Teixeira and Roberto Menescal; drummers Edu Ribeiro and Rafael Barata; and percussionists Mauro Refosco and Marivaldo dos Santos.
Elias peppered the sessions with delightful special guest performances from Mark Kibble and the multi-GRAMMY® Award winning Gospel vocal group Take 6, her singer/songwriter-daughter Amanda Brecker, one of Brazil’s most celebrated R&B stars, Ed Motta, and renowned bossa nova composer Roberto Menescal. Elias also invited Rob Mathes to handle orchestral arrangements on seven of the 12 tracks, which were recorded in London at the legendary Abbey Road studios.
Made in Brazil contains six Elias originals plus two Ary Barroso standards, two Roberto Menescal chestnuts, and two Antônio Carlos Jobim world-renowned gems. Elias, who did all the arrangements for the basic tracks, said that she purposely wanted Made in Brazil to incorporate three generations of Brazilian composers. Brazil is a part of Elias’ DNA and musically she demonstrates the tradition of where she comes from, as well as where she is today.
The five time GRAMMY® Award nominee, four time Gold Disc Award recipient and three time winner of Best Vocal Album in Japan, #1 artist in sales and radio in France, with all recordings reaching top five on Billboard Magazine, jazz radio charts on iTunes internationally and Amazon.com to name a few accolades, Elias has taken her place in the pantheon of music giants.
Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Elias’ musical talents began to show at an early age. She started studying piano at age seven and at age twelve was transcribing solos from the great jazz masters. By the time she was fifteen, she was teaching piano and improvisation at one of Brazil’s most prestigious schools of music. Her performing career began in Brazil at age seventeen, working with Brazilian singer/songwriter Toquinho and the great poet Vinicius de Moraes, who was also Antonio Carlos Jobim’s co-writer/lyricist. In 1981, she headed for New York and in 1982 landed a spot in the acclaimed group Steps Ahead.
Her first album release was a collaboration with Randy Brecker in 1984 entitled Amanda. Shortly thereafter her solo career began, spanning over twenty albums to date. In her work Elias has documented dozens of her own compositions, her outstanding piano playing and arranging, and beautiful vocal interpretations. In 1988 she was voted Best New Talent in Jazziz magazine’s Critics Poll.
Together with Herbie Hancock, she was nominated for a GRAMMY® in the Best Jazz Solo Performance category for her 1995 release, Solos and Duets. This recording was hailed by Musician magazine as “a landmark in piano duo history.” In the 1997 DownBeat Readers Poll, her recording The Three Americas was voted Best Jazz Album. Elias was also named in five other categories: Beyond Musician, Best Composer, Jazz Pianist, Female Vocalist and Musician of the Year. Considered one of the great interpreters of Jobim’s music, Elias has recorded two albums solely dedicated to the works of the composer, Plays Jobim and Sings Jobim. Her 1998 release Eliane Elias Sings Jobim won Best Vocal Album in Japan, was the number one record on Japan’s charts for over three months and was awarded Best Brazilian Album in the Jazziz Critics Poll.
Moreover, as a testament to the quality of her writing, the renowned Danish Radio Big Band has performed and recorded Elias’ compositions, arranged and conducted by the legendary Bob Brookmeyer. The CD recording of this project is called Impulsive and was released on Stunt Records. It received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album in 2001. The same year, Calle 54, the highly acclaimed documentary film by Oscar-winning Spanish director Fernando Trueba, featured Elias’ performance of “Samba Triste” and also received a GRAMMY® nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.
On the Classical Side, recorded in 1993, demonstrated Elias’ classical skills with a program of Bach, Ravel, and Villa Lobos. In 2002, Elias recorded with opera sensation Denyce Graves. For this recording, The Lost Days, she arranged two Brazilian classical pieces and wrote an original composition especially for Graves entitled “HaabiaTupi.”
In 2002, Elias signed to the RCA Music Group/Bluebird label and released Kissed by Nature, an album consisting of mostly original compositions. Dreamer, her second recording for the label (released in 2004), was a fresh mix of tunes from the American Songbook, Brazilian Bossa Novas, and two new originals, all sung in English and Portuguese and supported by a full orchestra. Dreamer received the Gold Disc Award and was voted Best Vocal Album in Japan in 2004. It reached No. 3 on the pop charts in France and No. 4 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. Elias’ Around the City, released on RCA Victor in August 2006, merges bits of Bossa Nova, with shades of pop, jazz, Latin and even rock & roll. Around the City features Elias’ vocals and songwriting in collaborations with producers Andres Levin and Lester Mendez, as well as fresh takes on pop classics such as Tito Puente’s “Oye Como Va” and Bob Marley’s “Jammin.”
Elias returned to Blue Note/ EMI in 2007 with Something for You, a tribute to the music of the late great Bill Evans. While touching the essence of the pianist/composer, she also brings her own unique gifts to the surface, as a composer, interpreter, outstanding instrumentalist and beguiling vocalist. This release won Best Vocal Album of the Year and the Gold Disc Award in Japan. This is also the third consecutive recording of Elias to receive these awards and her fourth overall. Something for You reached No. 1 on the U.S. Jazz Radio charts, No. 8 on Billboard and No. 2 on the French jazz charts.
2008 marked the fiftieth anniversary of the birth of Bossa Nova. In celebration of this event, Elias recorded Bossa Nova Stories, featuring some of the landmark songs of Brazil with American classic and pop standards, exquisitely performed as only she can, with lush romantic vocals and exciting playing accompanied by a stellar rhythm section and strings recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
Destined to become a classic, Bossa Nova Stories achieved the following: No. 1 debut on the French charts (2008), No. 1 Vocal Album from Swing Journal in Japan (May-June 2008), No. 1 iTunes Top Jazz Album (January 2009), No. 2 iTunes Top Latin Album (January 2009), No. 2 debut on Billboard’s Overall and Top Jazz Charts (January 2009). Bossa Nova Stories was also nominated by the Brazilian GRAMMYs (20th Premio da Musica Brasileira, 2009) for Best Foreign Album.
In 2009, EMI Japan released Eliane Elias Plays Live, an all-instrumental trio album with bassist Marc Johnson and drummer Joey Baron of a concert recorded in Amsterdam on May 31, 2002. This performance demonstrates modern jazz trio playing at the highest level and spotlights Elias’s inventiveness and supreme command of the instrument on a collection of jazz standards and one original.
Light My Fire, released May 31, 2011, on Concord Picante, a division of Concord Music Group, featured four compositions written or co-written by Elias herself and also included covers of familiar works by songwriters as diverse as Jim Morrison and the Doors, pop icon Stevie Wonder and jazz saxophonist Paul Desmond. Backing Elias was a crew of twelve high-caliber players, including guitarist/vocalist Gilberto Gil and trumpeter Randy Brecker. On Light My Fire, Elias wore many hats – as singer, pianist, composer, arranger and producer. In September 2011, her song “What about the Heart (Bate Bate)” was nominated for a Latin GRAMMY® in the category of Best Brazilian Song.
On May 28, 2013 Concord Jazz presented Elias’ I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker), an album that offered her personalized spin on the work of a key American jazz artist while spotlighting her connection to the singer-instrumentalist tradition. It fully demonstrated the range of interests that Elias’ art now boasts, and arrived with a statement of purpose: jazz repertoire can sound totally fresh when delivered with ingenuity and passion.
Long known for her native feel of Brazilian music, I Thought About You truly confirmed Elias’ expertise as an interpreter of American standards. In addition to receiving glowing critical praise, I Thought About You reached #1 album in the U.S. and France in sales on Amazon.com, #2 on iTunes in several countries including the U.S., France and Brazil, #4 on Billboard’s jazz charts and top jazz radio charts.
Demonstrating her unique gifts as a pianist, singer, composer and arranger as well as melding her immense talents in jazz, pop, classical and Brazilian music, she is as Jazziz magazine has called her, “A citizen of the world” and “an artist beyond category.”
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