Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
on 24 August 2008
The music of Eliane Elias is deeply harmonic and sensual. At its heart is utterly superb jazz piano - rhythmic, gently propulsive and essentially (though not overtly) Brazilian. Elias infuses her sonorous, vibrant playing with some pleasingly melodic, whispery-delicate vocals - always pitch-perfectly complementing her sumptuous piano verve.
'Bossa Nova Stories' combines loving interpretations of Brazilian jazz classics with some popular American standards, all quality-assured by the formidable rhythm section of top-level bassist Marc Johnson (her husband) and percussionist Paulo Braga. About half the tracks are enriched by subtle orchestral arrangements conducted by Rob Mathes - reminiscent to me of those that embellish Diana Krall's 'The Look of Love'.
'Bossa Nova Stories' is essential listening to all who like, or certainly who love, Brazilian jazz. Track no 6, 'Estate (Summer'), can only be described as sublime - one of the most exquisite of jazz-samba melodies taken assuredly by Elias to a new level with the help of Toot Thieleman's passionate, playful harmonica. Further album standouts include 'Girl from Ipanema', 'Desafinado', 'Superwoman' and 'Rã (The Frog)'.
The album may not be as accomplished in jazz terms as the powerful 'Paulistana' or as innovative as the highly recommended 'Kissed by Nature', which comprises some wonderful Elias originals. Yet as an uplifting virtuoso homage to Brazilian jazz, 'Bossa Nova Stories' is a wise investment in complete musical enjoyment.