Thursday, 20 March 2014

Review: Eliane Elias - Paulistana

After proving herself a talented and unique piano voice, albeit with a sometimes frustratingly erratic output, Eliane Elias hit gold with ‘Fantasia’, a beautiful album that was received with strong critical notices and sold handsomely. And thankfully for her follow-up, ‘Paulistana’, she wisely continued in the same vein and continues on a decidedly handsome winning streak.

As before a nicely rounded mix of Brazillian composers hits from the likes of Barroso, Jobim and Bonfa are here alongside Elias’ own strong efforts peppering the mix. The opening salvo of the anthemic ‘Brazil’, Carlos Lyra’s classic ‘Influencia Do Jazz’ and Elias’ own ‘Paulistana’ alone is a huge treat, with each possessing a distinct and memorable melody.

Her favoured piano trio is the format of choice here, with Elias keen to hint at Bill Evans, as well as showcasing her own sound, with many tracks benefitting from some soulful and rhythmic percussion. On the downside, a handful of tracks also unweildily gain some of Elias’ vocals. Not to say that her voice is bad though - in fact its limited range is heightened by the warm and sensuous tone she brings to the lyrics – but its occasional lead means that her own piano playing, her greatest asset, is at times greatly reduced.

A warm and enjoyable listening experience, the recasting of these classics in a jazz format is a winning success, and Elias’ own pieces here, including the title track, are also much stronger than before, blending nicely with the well-chosen covers. And even despite the small flaws, ‘Paulistana’ is a great uplifting jazz record that sits nicely in Eliane Elias’ discography.


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