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Eliane Elias: Made in Brazil



Eliane Elias Made in BrazilThe pianist, Elaine Elias who has since she made her presence felt on the world stage, striven to bring Brasilian music to a new high. She has used all of her terrific pianism rooted in the Brasilian idiom to do this. Elias has always been one of the most attractive pianists to listen to. The sensual rocking of her lines has brought to life all of the suggestive dancing that lures you into a beautiful stupor. Her playing is sometimes suggestive of a whisper in the ear of the listener with lips fluttering so close that you can almost feel them. I cannot think when I last heard a pianist who brought Brasilian music so close to the trembling nerves of the body. Listening to (and watching) her fingers caress the keys of the piano is quite another matter altogether.

And now Elias is in the process of reinventing herself as a vocalist. Bossa Nova Stories (2008) was the first time that she made clear her intentions. Now, with Made in Brazil (odd that she should spell Brasil with a ‘z’ though), Elias is looking not only to further her cause, but cement her reputation as a Carioca worthy of widespread recognition. The record is already winning accolades in industry circles, but does she make the cut? Being nominated for a Grammy need not necessarily be a measure of how great an album is, or at least how much it achieves its intentions. After all it is after the first blush that a performance starts to become enduring; after the songs echo in your head demanding that they be heard by the inner ear.

This is exactly how Made in Brazil must be approached. The beckoning cover and the silken charm of its protagonist’s vocals are a barrier that is easy to cross. Covers don’t always sell records although they might do sometimes. But this is not why you should definitely buy Elias’ record; why you should fall in love with her. The reason is this: Eliane Elias’ music is where the heart beats. Its palpitations are caused by Elias’ voice this time and not her piano. There is a much greater urgency in the music. A greater desire to beguile and consume the spirit of the listener in a most opulent manner. Perhaps you might attribute that to the strings that accompany some of the music. It seems throughout the record that the strings are ubiquitous for some reason.

But to return to the reason that makes this record desirable is the fact that Eliane Elias does in fact have a voice to die for. She releases pent up feelings of both despair and joy and longing with extraordinary feeling and barely discernable coloratura in which a voice as husky and beckoning can make utterly irresistible. Her voice, gloriously descending to interpolating low Cs below the stave moves fast then slow, always dazzles the senses. Her exuberance is fetching; almost Lolita-like. This is beautifully suggested in her dialogues with Roberto Menescal. These are often reminiscent of that iconic session that brought Antonio Carlos Jobim together with Elis Regina – Elis & Tom (Verve, 1974). To that end, the inclusion of Aguas De Março may not be such a coincidence.

Still Made in Brazil hits the mark on much of the repertoire and Você is a prime example of why the performance does much to seal Elaine Elias’ reputation as a vocalist. It would be interesting to see what Elias does next to provide equal weightage to piano and vocal chords. I’m quite sure that record is not very far off.

Made in Brazil is a 2016 Grammy Nominated Recording
Best Latin Jazz Album category

Track List: Aquarela do Brasil; Você ; Aguas De Março (Waters Of March); Searching: Some Enchanted Place; Incendiando; Vida (If Not You); Este Seu Olhar/Promessas; Driving Ambition; Rio; A Sorte Do Amor (The Luck Of Love); No Tabuleiro Da Baiana.

Personnel: Eliane Elias: arrangements, compositions, keyboards, piano, vocals; Marc Johnson: acooustic bass; Marcelo Mariano: electric bass; Roberto Menescal: compositions, guitar, vocals; Marcus Teixeira : guitar; Rafael Barata: drums; Edú Ribeiro: drums; Marivaldo Dos Santos: percussion; Mauro Refosco: percussion; Amanda Brecker: vocals; Mark Kibble: vocal arrangement, vocals; Take 6: vocals; Ed Motta: vocals; Rob Mathes: arrangements, conductor.

Label: Concord Jazz
Release date: March 2015
Running time: 1:17:42
Buy music on: amazon

About Eliane Elias

There’s no question about it: Seven time GRAMMY® Award Nominee, four time “Gold Disc Award” recipient and three time winner of “Best Vocal Album” in Japan, #1 artist in sales and radio in France, with all recordings reaching top five on USA Billboard Jazz Charts, Jazz radio charts, and several reaching #1 on iTunes and to name a few accolades, Eliane Elias has taken her place in the pantheon of music giants. She has sold over 2 million albums during the span of her career. Read more…

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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Featured Albums

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá



Roberto Jr. Vizcaino, Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaino Guillot - Photo Nayeli Mejia
Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Adrien Brandeis, Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot - Photo: Nayeli Mejia.

Listening to the music of Siempre Más Allá, it certainly seems that the young French pianist, Adrien Brandeis has strengthened the belief that he is a proverbial citizen of the Afro-Caribbean universe. To be clear Mr Brandeis still loves all music and swings as hard as any pianist who loves Black American Music – that is, music that you can sing and dance to. But also continues to be beguiled by the rolling thunder of Afro-Caribbean music. The wild call of the rhythms and the joie de vivre of the questing melodies and harmonies not only appeal to his ear, but also speak to him in the hidden parts of his heart.

By his own admission Siempre Más Allá took root during three tours to Mexico undertaken under the aegis of the Fédération des Alliances Françaises du Mexique. The virtually all-Afro-Cuban repertoire of the album radiates charm at every turn. These disarmingly natural and eloquent performances bring out the music’s inherent drama and penchant for tumbao with a deft touch while indulging Brandeis’ lyrical instincts to the full. Meticulously balanced, the four quartet pieces, the trio and duo pieces feel as if they are chamber works. Brandeis’ astonishingly insightful playing is musically captivating and technically blemishless. Each phrase rings so completely true that one can’t imagine the music played any other way.

Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá
Adrien Brandeis: Siempre Más Allá

The album features Mr Brandeis and a group of very accomplished musicians. These include the celebrated Cuban percussionist Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot [on two tracks] and his son Roberto Vizcaíno Jr., Mexican drummer José Loria Triay make up the wall of percussion. The Brasilian bassist Giliard Lopes brings his distinctive veritas to the whole rhythm section. The big surprise here is, perhaps, the presence of the great Cuban Horacio “El Negro” Hernández sitting in the drum chair on La buena vibra.

Siempre Más Allá is an affirmation of Brandeis’ enduring love and natural affinity for Latin music. Not surprisingly the music seems to echo the famous Latin American phrase: “¡Que rico bailo yo!” [which, in English, exclaims: “How well I dance!”]. This is no hyperbole as the music – in its pulses and rhythms show as Brandeis traverses the rhythmic topography of the Caribbean and Latin America. Along the way Brandeis plunged into the world of changüí, the chacarera, Brasilian gaucho music and the ancient melodic thunder of bàtá drums.

From the get-go listeners will find themselves immersed in quite another world of rippling percussive grooves. The track Ek Bakam, for instance, conjures the intricate architecture; the line and flow of an epic Mayan civilisation located in the Yucatan. Narratives from the Latin world abound – often paying homage to famous traditional musicians. Pancho’s Power is one such chart inspired by the vivid world of the legendary trio Los Panchos. Brandeis gives his percussion section a lot of space when he puts the spotlight on them on Tierra de Oportunidades – a wistful memory of the pianist’s three tours to Mexico, which is also incidentally the popular provincial slogan of the Mexican state of Guanajuato. On Huachi-Huachi Brandeis digs deep into the epicurean delights of the only Latin country in North America with this song in praise of a kind of gourmet Mexican fish: the huachinango.

Brandeis then celebrates his association with percussion colourist Roberto Vizcaíno Jr. with the extraordinary music of Vizcaíno Blues, a piece unique with its exploratory chromaticisms and elegant sonorities that beautifully capture the eloquence of the percussionist in whose praise the music is written. Mindful of the fact that Vizcaíno is Cuban but makes his home in Mexico, Brandeis shapes the rhythmic and harmonic palette of the piece accordingly. On La Buena Vibra Brandeis delivers astonishing pianistic fireworks in the piece’s melodic and harmonic lines, played at a frenetic pace, to mirror the style of its dedicatee, Michel Camilo. The pianist demonstrates an authentic home-grown grasp of Cuban music as he reimages Voy a Apagar la Luz, by the legendary and late-singer Armando Manzanero, here adapted as a wistful solo piano work. Meanwhile on the dizzying ride of Humpty Dumpty the pianist pays homage to another idol: Chick Corea, by revisiting the sparkling composition of the recently-deceased piano maestro.

It is hard not to be mesmerised by this spirited and finely nuanced music artfully crafted in an album by Adrien Brandeis, a pianist who is about to take the world by storm with a recording that is going to be one of the finest by any musician located outside the Latin American sub-continent.

Deo gratis…

Tracks – 1: Huachi Huachi; 2: Alegría; 3: Pancho’s Power; 4: Ek balam; 5: Un peu d’espoir; 6: Vizcaíno’s Blues; 7: Tierra de oportunidades; 8: Humpty Dumpty; 9: La buena vibra; 10: Voy a apagar la luz

Musicians – Adrien Brandeis: piano; Giliard Lopes: contrabass; José Loria Triay: drums; Roberto Vizcaíno Jr: congas and bàtá drums. Featuring Roberto Vizcaíno Guillot: percussion [1, 6]; Horacio “El Negro” Hernández: drums [9]

Released – 2022
Label – Mantodea Music Productions
Runtime – 58:25

YouTube Video – Adrien Brandeis – Siempre más allá (EPK)

YouTube Audio – Adrien Brandeis – Vizcaíno’s Blues

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