Something for You
Eliane Elias Sings & Plays Bill Evans
Original Release Date: January 15, 2008
Label: Blue Note Records
Recording Time 63 minutes
1. You and the Night and the Music
2. Here Is Something For You
3. A Sleepin' Bee
4. But Not For Me
5. Waltz For Debby
7. Blue In Green
8. Detour Ahead
9. Minha (All Mine)
10. My Foolish Heart
11. But Beautiful/Here's That Rainy Day
12. I Love My Wife
13. For Nenette
16. After All
17. Introduction to "Here Is Something For You"
Eliane Elias: piano, voice;
Marc Johnson: bass;
Joey Baron: drums.
Bill Evans - Piano (track 17)
Pianist / singer / songwriter, Eliane Elias is known for her distinctive and immediately recognizable musical style which blends her Brazilian roots, her sensuous, alluring voice with her impressive instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills. Born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Eliane 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 entitled Amanda in 1984. Shortly thereafter her solo career began, spanning over eighteen albums to date; fifteen on Blue Note Records and three on RCA Victor Group. In her work Elias has documented dozens of her own compositions, her outstanding piano playing and arranging, and beautiful vocal interpretations. All of her recordings have garnered a great deal of praise from the critics and all have topped the Billboard and Jazz Radio charts.
In 1988 she was voted Best New Talent by the jazz critics poll of JAZZIZ magazine.
Together with Herbie Hancock in their duet, 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. Eliane Elias was 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, Ms.Elias’ has been featured on many concert tributes to Jobim and recorded two albums solely dedicated to the works of the composer, Plays Jobim and Sings Jobim. The 1998 release “Eliane Elias Sings Jobim” won “Best Vocal Album” in Japan and was awarded ” Best Brazilian Album” in Jazziz Critics Poll of 1999.
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. IMPULSIVE received a Grammy nomination for “Best Large Jazz Ensemble Album” in 2001. She performed this music live in several tours and was featured with the Carnegie Hall and the BBC Jazz Orchestra and the Frankfurt Radio Big Band Orchestra to name a few.
In the same year, “Calle 54?, the highly acclaimed documentary film by Oscar winning Spanish director Fernando Trueba, featuring Ms. Elias’ performance of Samba Triste also received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album.
In 2002 Ms. Elias recorded with opera sensation Denyce Graves. For this recording, “The Lost Days”, Eliane arranged two Brazilian classical pieces and wrote an original composition especially for Ms. Graves entitled Haabia Tupi.
In 2002 Ms. Elias signed to RCA Music Group/Bluebird label and released Kissed by Nature . Her second recording for the label, DREAMER, released in 2004 , is a fresh mix of tunes from the American Songbook, Brazilian Bossa Novas and two new originals, all sung in English and Portuguese, supported by a full orchestra .
DREAMER received the “Gold Disc Award “and won ‘Best Vocal Album in Japan” in 2004. It reached #1 on the Jazz Charts USA and France, #3 on the Pop Charts in France and #4 on the Billboard charts in the USA.
Ms. Elias’ “AROUND THE CITY” cd was released on RCA Victor in August 2006 . It merges bits of Bossa Nova, with shades of pop, jazz, latin, and rock’n roll. AROUND THE CITY features Ms. 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”. Her song “Running” was featured on the ABC series “brothers and Sisters”. Around the City won “Best Vocal Album of the Year”and “Gold Disc” 2006 awards in Japan. It reached #1 on the World Music Charts USA and debuted on the French Jazz Charts as #1.
In 2007, Ms Elias returned to Blue Note Records. Her 2007 release, “SOMETHING FOR YOU”, Eliane Elias Sings and Plays Bill Evans received “Best Vocal Album of the Year” and the “Gold Disc Award” in Japan . This is the 3rd consecutive recording that Eliane receives these awards and her 4th all together.
“Something for You” reached #1 on the USA Jazz Radio charts, #8 on Billboard and #2 on the French Jazz Charts.
Ms. Elias just completed a new recording for Blue Note records. “Bossa Nova Stories” is a celebration to the 50th Anniversary of the Bossa Nova and features her vocals accompanied by a stellar rhythm section and strings recorded at Abbey Road Studios in London.
As a guest artist she has appeared on performances and recordings with Joe Henderson, James Taylor, Michael Franks, Mingus Dynasty, Andy Summers, the Grammy winning Brecker Bros’. Out of the Loop, Earl Klugh, Toots Thielemans Brazil Project , Ivan Lins, Denyce Graves, Steps Ahead, Calle 54, and Marc Johnson’s “Shades of Jade” on ECM Records, an instrumental recording she co-produced and contributed many of her own original compositions. “Shades of Jade” received the Danish Music Award as Best Foreign Release in March 2006.
Ms.Elias was featured in the Thelonious Monk Institute’s televised Second Annual “Celebration of America’s Music” at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, the Carnegie Hall Jazz Orchestra, four times on Marion McPartland’s NPR ‘Piano Jazz”; the JVC Festival with Sting, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Caetano Veloso at Lincoln Center in New York, the televised Piano Grand, a Gala celebration for the 300th Anniversary of the piano in Washington DC. hosted by Billy Joel, and the BBC Jazz Orchestra to name a few.
Gold Disc Award, Swing Journal, Japan
“Best Vocal Album of the Year” award for 2007 in Japan (Swing Journal)
This is the 3rd consecutive recording that Eliane receives this award and her 4th all together!
Gold Disc Award 2007 ( Japan )
#1 USA Jazz on radio
#2 In France ( Jazz charts)
reached #8 on Billboard
reached #8 on Itunes
Marc Johnson played bass in the Bill Evans Trio for two years before Evans died in 1980. Evans gave Johnson a cassette of tunes he had roughed out but left unfinished. When Marc rediscovered this tape and played it to his wife, singing pianist Eliane Elias, she was inspired to record this CD - subtitled "Eliane Elias Sings and Plays Bill Evans". She is a good person to pay such homage, since her piano style is - like Bill's - subtle and thoughtful. In fact the predominant mood of this album is gentle and contemplative, although Eliane adds vocals to quite a few of the tunes.
Imprinted on my mind is an image of Bill Evans from the only time I saw him, giving a concert in London. His head was bowed so low over the keyboard that it almost touched the keys. Here, indeed, was an introvert, a pianist who seldom went in for showy musical pyrotechnics. Eliane respects this inward-looking aspect of Evans, although her Brazilian roots ensure that flashes of fire emerge in the music. For instance, the opening You and the Night and the Music combines Evans's clarity and lightness of touch with an infectious swing.
Eliane's vocals are also notable for their clarity, and they add a new dimension to the numbers associated with Evans. Her version of Waltz for Debby starts with a tender vocal but then breaks into a bluesy four-in-a-bar piano solo. In fact she is a more considerable vocalist than many who nowadays pass for jazz singers. Yet it is her piano playing that continually catches the ear, with a harmonic richness similar to that of Bill Evans and a pleasing delicacy of touch. Savour how she blends But Beautiful with Here's That Rainy Day - one tune merging seamlessly into another.
Eliane Elias composed one track herself - the touching After All - and added her own lyrics to a couple of the rediscovered Evans tunes: Here Is Something For You and Evanesque. The album ends with Evans's own sketch for the former, poorly recorded but with generously cascading notes and Bill laughing with pleasure at his invention, which Elias transforms into the brilliant second track. On every other track the recorded sound is attractively clear, although it tends to relegate drummer Joey Baron to the background, leaving Mr and Mrs Johnson to take most of the limelight. But Joey gets occasional moments of glory, like the four-bar breaks in Five.
Eliane deliberately chose to perform a lot of songs on the album, with shortish solos, "and do them in a way that I can deliver my message without having to play five choruses". It gives the listener a remarkably rich, concentrated experience, without a note wasted. This album is not only a deserved tribute to Bill Evans but shining proof of Eliane's established stature as a significant pianist and singer.
Eliane Elias is a great pianist and a very good singer, an able interpreter of the music of her native Brazil, and an overall ambassador for jazz music. She has long had connections with piano great Bill Evans. It was Eddie Gomez, best known for his work with Evans’ trio, who recommended that Elias move to New York in 1981 after hearing her play in Paris. Her husband, Marc Johnson, who has played bass with her on many recordings, was Evans’ bassist from 1978 until the pianist’s death in 1980. Elias’ piano playing has long shown Evans’ influence, being lyrical and harmonically plush, even on her Brazilian projects. Over the past five years or so, Elias produced a series of albums that seemed designed to expose her to a larger audience. While these albums, recorded for RCA, were still of high musical quality, they tended to put her singing out front, dispense with some of her piano solos, and utilized modern production to achieve more of a pop music sheen.
Now Elias has returned to Blue Note, the label for which she recorded from the late 1980s until 2002 for a Bill Evans tribute album of sorts. Something For You features Elias in a simple trio setting, with Johnson on bass and Joey Baron on drums, performing songs associated with or composed by Evans as well as some original touches. The result is an album that pays tribute to Evans without sounding imitative and which manages to add another chapter to Elias’ career and growth as an artist.
It’s easy to focus on the more lyrical performances, such as “You and the Night and the Music” or the title track, as evidence of Elias’ empathy with Evans, but there’s more to it than that. Elias swings easily and effortlessly, the way Evans did, as heard on her performance of “A Sleepin’ Bee” where her piano work can’t help but make the listener smile. On “But Not For Me” her piano solo is absolutely perfect. Listening to Elias here, one can’t help but imagine that her last several records were designed to make her the kind of household name that Diana Krall has become, but her unassuming ability to swing puts her in a league of her own.
Of course, Elias can turn up the romance quotient as well when called upon to do so. Some might wonder at the presence of as much vocal work as there is on Something For You, but Eliane’s vocal work is every bit as evocative of Evans’ romanticism as her piano playing. Leading off the Evans classic “Waltz for Debby” with a slow delivery of the Gene Lees lyrics, one cannot but marvelat the beauty of Evans’ melody. Then she takes the piece into a straight, uptempo 4/4 for her piano solo, bringing it back to a jazz waltz for the final chorus.
Johnson and Baron are supportive and highly collaborative throughout, doing much more than merely keeping time. As with Evans, both are full-fledged members of a trio where any member can shade the music in a different way at any time. Elias plays piano throughout with a nearly palpable sense of joy, demonstrating that she is one of jazz music’s highly underrated pianists at this time. Many of her projects have had a Brazilian or Latin flavor, which makes sense, but it’s great to hear her playing straight ahead as she does here. This is definitely Elias’ best piano work on record since her performance on Johnson’s 2005 ECM recording Shades of Jade.
Something For You is a very personal and intimate approach to the Bill Evans book. Familiar pieces like “Blue In Green” are given vastly different readings than those that listeners are most familiar with, and the overall effect is one of great affection for Evans rather than imitation of him. The album’s title track is an unfinished piece that Evans had played on a cassette and given to Marc Johnson when he was in Evans’ trio. Elias wrote lyrics to it and presents them here. The disc ends with part of the tape of Evans playing the piece, a fitting conclusion to a recording that treats his music as a living entity rather than putting it under glass in a museum. It’s a triumph for fans of Eliane Elias, and should prove satisfying for Evans fans as well as anyone who loves modern jazz and jazz piano trios.