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Eliane Elias: Evans’ Essence

Eliane Elias
Bill Evans
Eliane Elias

When pianist Eliane Elias arrived in New York from her native São Paulo back in August 1981, she was 21 and gorgeous, classically trained and abundantly gifted with a penchant for dazzling Bud Powell-ish right-hand lines, evocative Bill Evans-type harmonies and alluring Jobim-styled bossa nova grooves. She quickly parlayed all of those attributes into a promising solo career, following a year-long stint in Steps Ahead from 1982 through 1983, which has led to 17 albums as a leader and much acclaim worldwide (including Gold Disc Awards in Japan and Grammy nominations in the States).

Today she is 48 and gorgeous, still abundantly gifted with all the same musical attributes she possessed when she came to town. Along the way she has added vocalist and mother to her resumé. And now her 24-year-old daughter, Amanda Elias-Brecker (from her marriage to trumpeter Randy Brecker), is following in her footsteps with her own first recording as a leader, currently in the works. “Oh, she was born a singer,” says the proud mother. “That one doesn’t need any lessons, she’s a natural. She has a beautiful voice and such beautiful intonation. So she finished graduating, got her master’s degree and got a record deal. It had to happen; she’s got too much talent.”

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