VOICES Notes and news on Jazz Vocals releases
02 SEP 13 ANNE FARNSWORTH
Eliane Elias' latest recording was just released May 28 but it has already reached #1 in sales and airplay in the U.S. and France on Amazon and #2 on iTunes. I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker) is an affectionate homage to the soulful trumpet player who sang with a wistful, wounded-soul tenor that captivated jazz fans.
With the 25th anniversary of Baker's death, there have been several releases dedicated to his memory. But Elias has some bona fides to go along with her innate artistry -- her husband, bassist Marc Johnson, and drummer Victor Lewis, who, with Elias on piano, make up her rhythm section on this set, played with the man himself. Legendary musician Randy Brecker fills in for Baker on trumpet and flugelhorn on three of the tracks, leading soli intro sections and contributing sensitive Baker-ish solos on "There Will Never Be Another You" and "Just Friends," as well as opening "That Old Feeling" with the little-heard verse melody.
Rather than a mere reproduction of Baker's best-known songs, Elias brings her Brazilian sensibilities to bear on the arrangements. "I Thought About You," the first track, begins with a reharmonization of the opening changes. "Blue Room" opens with the first chorus done as a duet of Johnson's bass and Elias' voice.
Baker standards "There Will Never Be Another You" and "Let's Get Lost" sparkle as sambas, while "Embraceable You" grooves to a sultry bossa nova beat.
It's a full circle of style and influence, as Elias explains: "Chet and the cool jazz movement were influential to the bossa nova artists in the 1950s. João Gilberto, Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes, and Antonio Carlos Jobim are just a few who have spoken to this influence. Chet sang and played with a purity of sound, and had a way of phrasing without much affectation, floating over the bar line, an approach which is immediately recognizable in the delivery of some of the great bossa nova artists, like João Gilberto."