“The Brazilian pianist and singer Eliane Elias commands the keyboard with a forceful two-handed muscularity that belies her image as a blond older sister of the mythical Girl From Ipanema.” – The New York Times
“Elias’ intoxicating vocals [on her new release Love Stories (Concord)] emote the ambient calm of a forest after a soft rain; her vibrancy is a force unto itself. With powerful artistry, her naturally prodigious talent is even stronger as the years pass—a feat capable only by the true elites of the musical world.”***** – DownBeat
Over the course of a distinguished career spanning nearly 30 albums, multi-GRAMMY®-winning pianist/singer/composer Eliane Elias’ distinctive musical style has emerged as one of the most unique and immediately recognizable sounds in jazz. With over 2.2 million albums sold to date, Elias blends her Brazilian roots and alluring voice with her virtuosic instrumental jazz, classical and compositional skills, while she consistently displays her pianistic mastery and ability to integrate the many artistic roles she takes on.
Elias’ most recent recording, Love Stories, is an orchestral, all-English album to be released on August 30, 2019 via Concord Jazz. “I am very proud of this production and feel it’s one of the most romantic sets of music I’ve ever produced,” she says of the project, which she recorded in Brazil and at London’s Abbey Road Studios alongside co-producers Marc Johnson and Steve Rodby.
She brings a stellar lineup of some of Brazil’s most sought-after rhythm section players, including Marcus Texiera on guitar and Edu Ribeiro, Rafael Barata, Paulo Braga and Celso Almeida on drums, plus Marc Johnson, her longtime musical partner and co-lyricist, on bass. Orchestrator Rob Mathes returns for his fourth recording with Elias here, while composer Roberto Menescal plays guitar on his own song, “O Barquinho/ Little Boat.”
The São Paulo native tapped into a deep well of emotion for this project, which delves into various expressions of love that run the gamut from romantic and dreamy to profound and abiding. Elias’ strong connection to the bossa nova tradition features prominently here, as well, shining through in fresh, modern ways as she interprets several classic works made famous by the likes of Frank Sinatra, Antonio Carlos Jobim plus some of her all-time favorites. Elias also mines her own heart for inspiration on three stunning new original compositions.
The music’s evocative nature reflects an emotionally challenging recent period in Elias’ life during which she wrote and arranged the material. Just four months before the death of her father, she suffered an accident, in which she fractured her shoulder, forcing her to remain almost completely still for many weeks. As she recuperated at home in São Paulo, Elias summoned her creative spirit in response to her challenging circumstances where her writing and her voice became, as Johnson put it, “her focal points for expression.”
As a GRAMMY® Award winner, Latin GRAMMY®-winner, four-time Gold Disc Award recipient and three-time winner of Best Vocal Album in Japan amongst many other awards, Elias has taken her place in the pantheon of music giants. Her three most recent recordings reached the #1 position on the Billboard charts, iTunes, jazz radio charts and Amazon bestseller charts to name only a few recent accolades.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Elias’ musical talents began to show at an early age. She started studying piano at age seven and at age 12 was transcribing solos from the great jazz masters. By the time she was 15, she was teaching piano and improvisation at one of Brazil’s most prestigious schools of music, CLAM. Her performing career began in Brazil at age 17, 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 solo album release was a collaboration with Randy Brecker in 1984 entitled Amanda. Shortly thereafter her solo career began, spanning 28 albums to date with the release of Love Stories. In her work, Elias has documented dozens of her own compositions, her outstanding piano playing and arranging and beautiful vocal interpretations. She started winning polls in 1988 when she was voted Best New Talent in Jazziz magazine Critic’s Poll.
Together with Herbie Hancock, 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. Elias was also 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, Elias has recorded two albums solely dedicated to the works of the composer: Plays Jobim and Sings Jobim. Her 1998 release Eliane Elias Sings Jobim won Best Vocal Album in Japan, was the number one record on Japan’s charts for over three months and was awarded Best Brazilian Album in the Jazziz Critics Poll. Both of these albums are a part of Elias’ catalogue of fourteen Blue Note Records recordings.