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Eliane Elias On Piano Jazz

Sep 27, 2013
Originally published on April 2, 2015 3:28 pm

On this Piano Jazz from 2008, Eliane Elias performs a set of tunes distinctly dedicated to the music of the late Bill Evans. She performs Evans' tunes "For Nanette," "I Love My Wife," and "B Minor Waltz," and duets with Marian McPartland on two early Bill Evans favorites: "Autumn Leaves" and "Alone Together."

A native of São Paulo, Brazil, pianist, composer and singer Elaine Elias grew up with an affinity for both the popular and traditional music of her country as well as American jazz. She began studying piano at age seven, and by age twelve, she was transcribing solos by Bud Powell, Art Tatum and other jazz greats.

When she was 17, Elias began touring with two renowned Brazilian artists, singer/songwriter Toquinho and the great poet, Vinicius de Moraes, who was Antonio Carlos Jobim's co-writer. In 1981, she headed for New York where she became a member of the group Steps Ahead. Her first recording, a collaboration with Randy Brecker, has been followed by more than 15 solo albums, each of which has appeared on Billboard jazz charts and received critical acclaim. Her 1995 duet with Herbie Hancock, from her album Solos and Duets, received a Grammy nomination.

Elias has recorded as a guest artist with Joe Henderson, James Taylor, Michael Franks, Mingus Dynasty, Andy Summers, the Brecker Brothers, Out of the Loop, Earl Klugh and Toots Thieleman's Brazil Project. She has won readers polls in JAZZIZ and DownBeat magazines, and has seen her original compositions arranged by Bob Brookmeyer for a 2001 Grammy-winning recording by the Danish Radio Big Band. In 2006, Elias co-produced and wrote compositions for her husband Marc Johnson's album, Shades of Jade, which won the Danish Music Award that year as best foreign release.

Elias is hailed as a marvelous pianist, composer, arranger and singer and is regarded as a leading interpreter of the songs of Antonio Carlos Jobim. She has been involved in numerous recordings and concerts in celebration of Jobim's music, including two albums of her own.

On her latest album, Something for You, Elias explores the music of Bill Evans. The album includes several never released and recently discovered tunes that Evans was working on before his death.

Her latest album is I Thought About You (A Tribute to Chet Baker).

Originally recorded June 5, 2008. Originally broadcast Oct. 21, 2008.

Set List

  • "For Nanette" (Evans)
  • "I Love My Wife" (C. Coleman)
  • "Autumn Leaves" (Kozma, Mercer, Prevert)
  • "Here's Something for You" (Evans, lyrics by Elias)
  • "Alone Together" (Dietz, Schwartz)
  • "My Foolish Heart" (Washington, Young)
  • "B Minor Waltz" (Evans)
  • "Liza" (G.& I. Gershwin, Kahn)
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.