The newest Nobel Prize in Literature, Portuguese writer José
Saramago has just released another book in the U.S. Once again the inimitable Saramago has
created a compelling tale. This time a dark one, dealing with a luminous blindness.
AT EL CAMINO COLLEGE CENTER FOR THE ARTS
The pianist-composer-singer, who melds a genuine love of Brazilian music with American
jazz, performs at 8:00 PM. Saturday, November 21 in Marsee Auditorium
LOS ANGELES In a two-decade career that has produced a dozen critically
acclaimed albums and a Grammy nomination, Brazilian-born Eliane Elias has never strayed
far from one of her earliest and most profound influences, composer Antonio Carlos Jobim,
who made bossa nova popular world wide.
Praised for her pianistic skills, Elias, on her latest CD, Eliane Elias Sings Jobim,
proves her vocal prowess as well. For her only Los Angeles area appearance of the 1998-99
season, at 8:00 PM., Saturday, November 22 in Marsee Auditorium at El Camino College,
Elias is joined by Dave Valentin (flute and percussion), Marc Johnson (bass), Satoshi
Takeishi (drums), and Dave Stryker (guitar).
Elias, born in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1960, grew up steeped in the music of Jobim, who
was on the verge of international fame at the time of Elias’s birth. Jobim defined bossa
nova as a new musical expression, a samba-rooted rhythmic hybrid that invited a higher
level of compositional sophistication and cool jazz-inspired interpretations. His early
classics like "One Note Samba" and "Desafinado" made bossa nova a
global sensation virtually overnight.
Nurtured in a broad range of musical influences by her classical pianist mother, Elias
perfected her classical technique while exploring the jazz piano tradition through a
family record collection that included an abundant selection of works by Erroll Garner,
Wynton Kelly, Red Garland and other fifties era improvisers. Six years as a student at a
prestigious São Paulo conservatory led to informal gigs with local groups for Elias.
Prophetically, her first professional engagement at the age of 17 was as pianist in the
bossa nova group of singer/lyricist Vinicius de Moraes, the Brazilian poet who was one of
Jobim’s most important early collaborators. Elias didn’t meet Jobim until she had lived in
New York City, where she moved in the early 1980s for almost a decade, but she had always
incorporated his compositions into her concert and recorded repertoire. She earned the
distinction of being chosen as a replacement for the ailing master as pianist in
saxophonist Joe Henderson’s 1995 Jobim tribute, Double Rainbow.
Elias first honored Jobim with her 1990 album, Eliane Elias Plays Jobim, which has been
one of her most popular. Eliane Elias Sings Jobim, released in summer 1998, completes her
homage to the composer’s genius. Owen McNally writing in The Hartford Courant of the
latter said, "Elias’s voice has an ethereal, sensuous quality reminiscent of Astrud
Gilberto, the Brazilian singer (who made the famous recording of "Girl from
Ipanema" with Stan Getz) Elias is a rare breed who can sing beautifully while
simultaneously accompanying herself skillfully on the piano."
Of Elias’s appearance on Hollywood Bowl’s `A Night in Brazil’ last summer, Don Heckman
of The Los Angeles Times observed, "Her sensitive singing of (Jobim’s)
"Falando de Amor" was the subtle musical high point of the concert’s opening
Her other albums on the Blue Note label include Solos and Duets with Herbie Hancock
(1996), which was nominated for a Grammy, and The Three Americas (1997), which extends the
rhythmic range to include Argentinian, Cuban and Puerto Rican influences.
Tickets for Eliane Elias, priced at $21 and $18, are on sale now at the El Camino
College Center for the Arts Ticket Office at 310-329-5345 or 1-800-832-ARTS. El Camino
College is located in the South Bay section of Los Angeles at the corner of Crenshaw and
Redondo Beach Boulevards, halfway between the 405 (San Diego) and 110 (Harbor) freeways.