World & Latin

Feeling Brazilian


Although originally from Brazil, pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias has spent nearly three decades and more than 20 recordings stitching together elements borrowed from either side of the equator and both hemispheres. Her latest studio album, Light My Fire, aims this eclectic lens at the vast landscape of human emotion and everything that emerges from it -- joy, sorrow, friendship, romance, patriotism and countless other feelings too complex and subtle to name.

A talented dozen that includes two special guests -- guitarist/vocalist Gilberto Gil and trumpeter Randy Brecker -- backs Elias. Together they make their way through a 12-song set that balances original and cover material, beginning with the beautifully layered "Rosa Morena," followed by the politically inspired "Aquele Abraco," a song written by Gil and inspired by his political exile from Brazil in the late-'60s and early-'70s

The covers include the title track, a sultry spin on the Doors' signature song; a steamy version of Stevie Wonder's "My Cherie Amour"; and a vocalese rendition of the iconic "Take Five," the Paul Desmond composition made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet in the late 1950s.

It all comes together seamlessly, anchored by the rich vocals and deft piano work of an artist whose range continues to expand and deepen over time. "This recording is the truest expression of what I'm doing right now and represents very closely what people hear me doing live in concert," said Elias. "I hope this music brings some romantic, joyful and heartfelt moments to those who hear it."

She has a few live dates around the world. Light My Fire comes out next week.