Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: World Music, Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
Eliane Shows Early Spark
Jinkyu | 01/06/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Because it is a 1995 release, this "Best of" CD should not be confused with something of broader scope. Its 12 songs are culled from a mere two CDs, "Illusions" (1986) and "Cross Currents" (1987), released on the Denon label. There is no material from the six CDs Eliane put out on Blue Note subsequent to "Cross Currents" and before this CD. She has, of course, released a tremendous amount of material since 1995.
Eliane's early best here is basically straight jazz, including bebop and slow, pretty stuff. Big-name credits include Haven Gillespie and Rodgers & Hart. But some of Eliane's other musical inclinations are also present. For example, "Choro," composed by her Brazilian piano teacher Amilton Godoy, is jazzy with a samba feel. Eliane immediately betrays her great dexterity on the piano with fast, hard-driving, and up and down piano work. "Chan's Song," a movie theme from Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock, is infused with some samba as well (and Toots Thielemans' harmonica appears here, more Wonderesque). The pop hit "Through the Fire" is richer and jazzier in her hands, but retains its pretty texture. "When You Wish Upon a Star" is what you think it is, but it is overlaid with a jazz interpretation. An oddball inclusion is the loud Brazilian samba song "Comin' and Goin'," written by Eliane's grandmother in 1927. Its entourage of vocalists represents the only singing.
In those early days, Eliane was playing acoustic piano, supported by a rhythm section, with no vocals. Her piano playing is great, with crisp phrasing and forceful soloing. Also, even this early in her career Eliane was demonstrating she had strong songwriting abilities: "Cross Currents," "Illusions," "Loco Motif," and the very pretty "Moments" (in which Toots' ponderous harmonica marks his other appearance) are originals. The first three have a bright beat; they are spirited and interesting, perhaps best encapsulated by "Loco Motif": She indeed does seem to be conjuring up visual images of a locomotive with her chugging piano. Later in her career, Eliane would have more instrumental support and sophisticated production techniques in her orbit as she became an international star. But this CD shows early Eliane stands up well too.