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December 2002

Eliane Elias
Kissed by Nature
Bluebird

Pianist Eliane Elias' easy Brazilian atmospherics on much of Kissed by Nature resemble Gary McFarland's pop-jazz successes of the 1960s, Soft Samba and The In Sound. The title piece, with English lyrics and a vocal by Elias, sets the comfortable tone. Many of the tracks have an overdubbed choir of Eliases singing in Portuguese. All of them feature her excellent piano work, supported by bassist Marc Johnson, with drummers Joey Baron and Paulo Braga alternating.

Elias has plumbed greater depths on other albums, but rarely has she played more pleasantly. "Luar," a trio performance without singing, provides a glimpse of Elias' harmonic sophistication and is a prime example of Baron's masterly touch with cymbals. Two tracks include Randy Brecker on trumpet or flugelhorn and Rick Margitza on tenor saxophone. Brecker solos muted on "September" and open on "October." Margitza provides long tones in ensembles, but does not solo. Paulo Andre Tavares adds guitar touches on "Manhattan," a tune written by Elias and her mother, Lucy. Except for a medley of songs by Brazilian guitarist Djavan, all of the other compositions on this agreeable album are by Elias.

Originally published in December 2002
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