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Music for the Summer.
on 8 July 2013
Having heard some of this on Jazz FM, this is the perfect accompaniment to warm summer days and the sound of Brazil infuses every tune - even those that didn't start that way.
Eliane Elias is a well-respected Jazz pianist who has married and played with some of the top players on the US Jazz scene. Her current husband Marc Johnson provides gorgeous double bass tone and wonderful rhythmic sense to every track - but here the focus is on Elias as a singer in the style familiar to those who love the music of Brazil.
Even a cool Jazz standard like "Take 5" sounds warmer and more south american - here enlivened by former husband Randy Brecker's trumpet. Elias plays piano throughout and its her rhythmic playing that marks her out as different to others in this vein. Every note has great placement and together with the percussion, gives this its wonderful feel.
Of course it helps that Gilberto Gil guests - singing on 3 tracks and 3 songs are written by him - with his guitar on a couple. But all the musicianship is of the highest standard and this is particularly noticable in the slower tunes - which in other hands could sound dull and safe - but here the playing and singing shine through in a crystal clear recording that allows space for the vocals and each instrument.
"Light my Fire" sounds completely different at such a slow tempo, but never loses that groove, thanks to great bass playing and subtle piano. Elias is never showy and every note seems essential - never superfluous or merely decorative.
Overall a high quality album with some great tunes - not ground-breaking or difficult in any way - but a real soundtrack for the summer.