Jazz CD Reviews

Eliane Elias – I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker) – Concord Music

An inspired sampling of some of Chet Baker’s work.

Published on April 13, 2013

Eliane Elias – I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker) – Concord Music Group CPI 34191-02, 54:49 [5/28/13] ****:

(Eliane Elias – vocals, piano; Oscar Castro-Neves – guitar; Steve Cardenas – guitar; Rafael Barata – drummer; Victor Lewis – drummer; Marivaldo dos Santos – percussion;  Randy Brecker – trumpet & Flugelhorn; Marc Johnson – bass)

In a foreword to Bill Moody’s novel Looking For Chet Baker, pianist Russ Freeman, who worked with Baker early in the trumpeter’s career, says the following about him:” He was a truly instinctive player with an incredible ear and a great lyrical sense. He was (also) a drug abuser for forty of his fifty-eight years, but he could play.” Eliane Elias has taken many songs associated with Baker during his career and created a paean to him in her release I Thought About You.

There is much to like about this release, not the least of which is the fact that Elias is a singer of self-possession and focus as evidenced by the opening title track “I Thought About You.” The opening of “There Will Never Be Another You” is in a Brazilian samba style that harkens back to Elias roots, then it kicks into a swinger with trumpeter Randy Brecker adding to the dynamic. Continuing in a swinging vein with “This Can’t Be Love” gives husband Marc Johnson a chance to display his big-toned bass which was so outstanding in the last trio fronted by the late Bill Evans.

Despite having been in the United States since 1981, Elias still has a delightful Brazilian accent that can be detected upon close listening which adds to the charm of the recording. Additionally she is a first rate pianist with a great touch and technical facility. She captures a blue mood with her fills backing her vocal on “Everything Depends On You” and then on “I’ve Never Been In Love Before” has a Nat Cole trio sensibility. This Cole feeling continues on “Just In Time” in the opening bars, and then Elias takes off on an up-tempo pace giving her right hand a real workout.

Chet Baker died tragically in 1988 when he jumped, fell, or was pushed from his hotel room in Amsterdam. He left a full yet incomplete jazz legacy. Eliane Elias breathes new life into an inspired sampling of his work.

TrackList: I Thought About You; There Will Never Be Another You; This Can’t Be Love; Embraceable You; That Old Feeling; Everything Depends On You; I’ve Never Been In Love Before; Let’s Get Lost; You Don’t Know What Love Is; Blue Room; Just Friends; Girl Talk; Just In Time; I Get Along Without You Very Well

—Pierre Giroux

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