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Eliane Elias Plays Jobim (1990)

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Eliane Elias

This is not an album for those die-hard bossa fans. These popular Jobim tunes all were revisited by Elias with the goal of bridging the gap between Brazilian music and jazz; that goal was achieved. She affirms herself in this complex idiom, resulting in an album that can be enjoyed by any jazz connoisseur.

On this record, Elias responds successfully to all the challenges that come with interpreting a legendary artist like Jobim. Enriching Jobim's harmonies through her own musical wisdom, already in the album's first track ("Waters of March"/"Água de Beber"), she escapes from the trap of a conventional soothing rendition. Together with the talents of percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, she instills there a true Brazilian samba spirit, with its restless, somewhat aggressive quality. "Sabiá," usually recalled under Jobim's dense orchestration, receives a delicate ad-lib treatment that metamorphoses into a ballad. "Desafinado," one of the best known Jobim tunes in America, may be the biggest surprise, with itsunstable jazz rhythm joined by creative re-harmonization. "Angela," a haunting, mysterious melody, is properly explored as a calm ballad. "Zíngaro," or "Retrato Em Preto E Branco," is faithful to its Brazilian sentiment in which a ballad feel menaces to take charge but is soon substituted by a typically Brazilian melancholy. "Samba de Uma Nota Só," in a funky interpretation, is not recognizable until they come to the bridge. Then a samba feel takes place, with hot solos and cuíca interventions with the jazzy drumming of deJohnette's enriching the overall pancultural result. The album closes with Elias singing "Don't Ever Go Away" with her heartfelt tone backed by a piano that betrays the classical music tradition inherent to the formation of the Brazilian sensitivity. ~ Alvaro Neder