Brazilian Jazz--Eliane Elias comes to the Jazz Store and Kuumbwa.
Thursday, November 12, 1998
The exquisitely beautiful songs of one of the 20th century''s greatest composers from any country, Antonio Carlos Jobim, are covered with lan and sensuous grace by the equally beautiful pianist and singer-come-lately Eliane Elias on her most recent recording for Blue Note Eliane Elias Sings Jobim.
Elias'' appearance at The Jazz Store Sunday, and at Kuumbwa Jazz Center Monday, is being billed as "The Three Americas," (the title of her 1997 recording where she plays American jazz, Brazilian jazz and Latin jazz), so there should be an array of her compositions in addition to Jobim''s being played in concert. Featured with her are guest artists Dave Valentin on flute and Marc Johnson on bass, both recognized on the international jazz stage as impressive soloists and leaders in their own right. Also appearing will be Dave Stryker, guitar and Satoshi Takeishi, drums.
The Sao Paulo, Brazil-born beauty who calls New York home is known for her accomplishments as a pianist in straight-ahead jazz, fusion and Brazilian jazz, but has put forth a concerted effort to create a new persona for herself as a singer. Although she admits that her voice is not her strong point, it comes across well on the legendary Brazilian''s music. Two of the recording''s songs, "For All My Life" and "Modinha," are complex in tonal structure, yet like most of the composer''s songs, the lyrical component of the vocals seems to glide along effortlessly. Both are presented on the CD as solo piano/vocal pieces, and it is here that Elias shines.
But with such impressive sidemen to work with on this 16-song recording Michael Brecker, tenor sax; Oscar Castro-Neves, guitar; Marc Johnson, bass; and Paulo Braga, drums, Elias can relax and stretch on other classics like "The Girl From Ipanema," "One Note Samba" and "Desafinado."
The breathy, sensuousness of her vocal style at times echoes what Astrud Gilberto did with "Ipanema," a number-one pop hit of the ''60s which brought bossa nova to the attention of the world. Brecker does well in his light and airy approach to the tenor sax, following the tradition set by Stan Getz on that same date. Jazz musicians have been using Jobim''s compositions since then as improvisational vehicles, making Brazilian jazz an important part of the jazz vocabulary.
This is not the first recording that Elias has sung on. Her 1989 recording, Plays Jobim, focused more on her skill as a pianist, but she did vocalize a few tunes, thus negating anyone''s attempts to accuse her of jumping on the Diana Krall bandwagon. Krall''s star though has risen at a faster rate than that of Elias, making the pretty girl with talent a hot commodity on the jazz scene at this time.
Eliane Elias, The Three Americas, Sunday, 7:30pm, The Jazz Store, $35 for two sets, reservations recommended, 624-6432, and Kuumbwa Jazz Center, Monday, 7:30pm and 9:30pm, $17/advanced, $19/door, 427-2227.
Even though I spent last weekend in San Francisco to attend a few events of that city''s fine jazz festival, I heard through sources close to the event that last week''s concert with the Screamin'' Cheetah Wheelies at Doc''s Nightclub came off well. Attendance met the promoter''s needs and the band performed to the audience''s liking.
Glad to hear it. You might be glad to hear that tonight (Thursday) is a way hip show at Doc''s with Dave Wakeling who is actually a very famous guy from his days as singer/songwriter/guitarist with the hugely successful English Beat and General Public. Two songs I remember hearing on the radio incessantly were Beat''s "Mirror In The Bathroom" and Public''s "I''ll Take You There."
Others who might have been more attentive to Wakeling''s career will remember "Save It For Later," "I Confess," "Hot Your Cool" and a few others I won''t scribble down here. He is touring as a solo act now with a new backup band in small clubs and also to crowds up to 15,000 at some radio sponsored concerts. This should be a good show. I''m not going to miss it.
Dave Wakeling, Thursday, 9:30pm, Doc''s Nightclub, $10, 649-4241.
So, ummm, Matt Heimbold got it wrong last week. The new Local Band Showcase at Doc''s started last Tuesday with three groovin'' local bands, Juice, Naughty Babies and Vera. But coming around again this week, the night features Monterey-grown Jedi and Notion, plus a band that originated in San Diego, but now calls Santa Cruz home, Government Grown. Jedi is a band led by Johnny Moezzi that plays funky ambient techno rock, at least on the songs I listened to off the demo tape. Notion doesn''t have a gimmick bag to draw upon, they play straight-ahead rock that boogies.
Government Grown comes across as a pretty hip gathering of musicians. Lead singer/drummer Jeremy Moss is the focal point of the band, setting his kit up front and center, just like one of his cited influences, Elvin Jones, the jazz drummer with a polyrhythmic style that defined creative jazz drumming ever since his days with saxophonist John Coltrane''s classic quartet in the early ''60s.
Self-described as a quartet that plays tight, complex song arrangements with looser musical explorations, Government Grown is reminiscent of the psychedelic bands of the late ''60s, but without sacrificing the modern edge. That''s what sets them apart from their musical ancestors, they say.
Government Grown, Notion & Jedi, Tuesday, 9pm, Doc''s Nightclub, no cover, 649-4241.
A couple months ago, Jack Burnham threw a big live recording bash at his nightclub/restaurant Sly McFly''s Jazz and Blues Alley, as it is now called on occasion. Groups and individuals such as Butter, Lucidology, Daniel Krasner Quintet, Stu Reynold''s Outland, Storm Warning, Terry Hiatt, Lee Durley, Susie Ammons, Chuck and Ginny August, The Bluetones, Carmel Rotary Blues Band with Stu Heydon, John Harris, Lori Hofer, Slo Herbie, and Gabriela Tazo came out to perform during the long night and their efforts have been recorded for posterity on the CD which came out of the event. The sales of the CD will benefit the Youth Education Funds of both the Monterey Bay Blues Festival and the Monterey Jazz Festival. Tuesday night is the CD release party. For musicians and the like, the club is throwing a thank you party between 6pm and 8pm, but will open up for business as usual with Joe Lucido''s Jazz Jam with everyone invited to attend. Some of the same performers will be on hand to play again, so come down and join the festivities and contribute to a good cause by picking up one of the CDs.
Sly''s Jam Session, Tuesday, 8pm, no cover, 649-8050.