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"Come Alive"
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Spotlights [Issue # 8 ]
Eliane Elias: Dreamer

By Jason Sklar

Eliane Elias’ Dreamer whispers a cool tropical breeze full of chilled out Brazilian bossa novas and two new originals. This time around, Elias’ stellar piano chops take a back seat to her vocal stylings, but only to allow a full orchestra to support and augment Elias’ rich tone and tender melodies.

Dreamer massages you out of your work cubicle and gently sets you down in a comfy, shady lounge flanked by island palm trees. For a moment, it makes that nasty little computer mouse feel like you are cupping coconut rum on holiday. It can ease you through monotonous tasks at work, just as it can gel a Saturday night cocktail party.

The album opens with two sweet bossas including Tony Hatch’s "Call Me" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," produced by the collective efforts of Borodin, Forrest, and Wright. With Michael Brecker on tenor sax, Dreamer harkens back to the cool bossa flavor of Stan Getz, Antonio Carlos Jobim, and Gilberto. Mind you, this is the smoother side of Brecker, but it works in the context.

The album carries on with some gospel joy on "Movin’ Me On," an Eliane Elias original, but then settles back into the bossa vibe with the classic "So Nice-Samba de Verao." As the album progresses, we get to hear Elias stretching out on the piano keys more and more, especially on Mercer and Schertzinger’s "Tangerine."

Dreamer is consistent. Consistently sassy, sumptuous, and sinuous. The lush string progressions, light guitar syncopations, and tasteful drum work of Paulo Braga nestle you into a bed of flower petals. This sweet gentility comes out of the "vulnerability that is shared between an artist and the audience when delivering a lyric honestly and purely from the heart," says Elias. She did so by choosing songs very close to her heart. By choosing both American and Brazilian compositions, the selections reflect a lifetime split between the two countries. She expertly merges this dichotomy by stringing together a seamless set of ear-pleasing, soul-easing tracks.

As one of the foremost interpreters of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s music, Elias delivers a steady sultriness akin to the champion of bossa nova without overstating their similarities. She parallels his efforts and collaborations while being sure not to mirror his interpretations exactly. Dreamer makes a personal statement while paying subtle homage to the musicians that came before her. For instance, the first chorus of Dorival Caymmi and Antonio Almeida’s "Doralice" has her playing transcriptions of Stan Getz’s saxophone solo.

This is a sexy, seductive album that might even slip into rotation when you’re logging time under the covers. Like a smooth Chardonnay, Dreamer goes down the hatchet with ease.
On "Dreamer- Vivo Sonhando," the title cut, Elias captures the melodic romanticism of Jobim, whom she dubs "the father of Brazilian standards." If Jobim is the father of Brazilian music, then he would be quite proud to have works like Dreamer taking after his offspring.


Dreamer Eliane Elias Dreamer

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