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Eliane Elias Sings Jobim (1998)

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Marc Johnson

Eliane Elias has considerable chops as an acoustic pianist, although as a singer, she is definitely limited and doesn't have a great range by any means. No one's going to mistake Elias' singing for that of Flora Purim, Astrud Gilberto, Gal Costa or Tânia Maria. But while her voice is paper-thin, Elias sings with enough feeling and sincerity to make Sings Jobim a decent, if conventional, Brazilian jazz offering. Her second tribute to Antonio Carlos Jobim (the first was 1989's all-instrumental Eliane Elias Plays Jobim), this CD finds her staying away from instrumentals and embracing familiar, oft-recorded bossa nova standards like "The Girl from Ipanema," "So Danco Samba," "One Note Samba" and "Desafinado." Elias' singing (most of it in Portuguese) is the focal point, although she gets in a few nice piano solos. Unfortunately, Elias plays it safe and doesn't offer a lot of surprises. Given the many great but lesser-known songs that Jobim wrote, one wishes Elias had been less conservative and more adventurous in her choice of material. Although pleasant enough, this isn't one of her essential releases. ~ Alex Henderson