Her new album was actually recorded in Sao Paulo and is the first one she recorded in her home country ever since she came to the US in 1981. But does it make any difference? The album was, again, produced by her, her husband Marc Johnson who also plays bass on the record, and Steve Rodby. So the sound of the record isn’t necessarily “more” Brazilian than previous recordings, but Eliane Elias does come up with enough other tricks here.
Besides, additional recording was done in New York and the orchestra was recorded in London. But anyway, it’s another nice collection with the aforementioned orchestra adding an interesting touch, arranged and conducted by Rob Mathes.
Elsewhere, the great Roberto Menescal is featured as guest singer and guitarist on his own “Voce” and “Rio”. The nice thing about the overdone “Águas De Marco (Waters of March)” is the fact that here she enlists the help of Mark Kibble from Take 6 who arranged the swinging background vocals for his group on this and two other tracks. And Eliane plays a neat Electric Piano solo.
Of the six original compositions, it is hard to pick one out. So I’ll mention them all: “Searching” is a dreamy ballad with the orchestra in full effect. Eliane’s piano playing is elegant throughout. “Some Enchanted Place” with lyrics by Johnson, has a very catchy refrain which is sung together with her daughter Amanda Brecker. The song is a great spiraling tune which circles intelligently around the chorus. “Incendiando”, again with lyrics by Johnson and herself, is another song with the help of Take 6 and builds into a groovy, soulful number really showcasing her great compositional skills. “Vida (If Not You)” features the brilliant Ed Motta on a mid-tempo ballad which is a hymn-like mover. And on “A Sorte Do Amor (The Luck Of Love)”, there is the dreamy Eliane Elias again, almost on the edge of becoming a bit kitschy, a fact that she saves by her sensual piano solo. And “Driving Ambition”, the third composition with lyrics by her husband, is a winning, sophisticated soul tune with sexy Take 6 vocals and infectious percussion work.
The second Menescal composition, “Rio” (check out the wonderful version on the 2001 “Brasilidade” album with Menescal and Bossacucanova), underlines Eliane’s predominance as the Brazilian/American vocal/piano heir. The album’s opener and closer are both songs by the Brazilian composer and pianist Ary Barroso. “Aquarela Do Brazil”, his most famous song written in 1939, is featured here as well as the lesser known Samba/Batuque style of “No Tabuleiro Da Baiana”, written in 1936 closing Eliane’s “Made In Brazil” in breezy, comfortable fashion.
Eliane, who celebrated her 55th birthday in March, is playing New York’s Birdland April 7th-11th. She’s going to be in Europe in May with stops in London, Porto, Lisbon, Zurich, Paris, and Wolfsburg. After several dates in the US and Canada in June, she’ll be back on the European festival circuit with concerts in Granada, Augsburg, Oslo, San Remo, and more. Make sure to check our Events section on these pages.