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Reviewers: Don Mather, Tony Augarde, Dick Stafford, John Eyles, Robert Gibson, Ian Lace, Colin Clarke, Jack Ashby

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Something For You

Blue Note 50999 5 11795 2 6




1. You and the Night and the Music
2. Here Is Something For You

3. A Sleepin' Bee
4. But Not For Me

5. Waltz For Debby
6. Five
7. Blue In Green
8. Detour Ahead
9. Minha (All Mine)
10. My Foolish Heart
11. But Beautiful/Here's That Rainy Day
12. I Love My Wife
13. For Nenette
14. Evanesque
15. Solar
16. After All
17. Introduction to "Here Is Something For You"
Eliane Elias - Piano, vocals
Marc Johnson - Bass
Joey Baron - Drums
Bill Evans - Piano (track 17)

Marc Johnson played bass in the Bill Evans Trio for two years before Evans died in 1980. Evans gave Johnson a cassette of tunes he had roughed out but left unfinished. When Marc rediscovered this tape and played it to his wife, singing pianist Eliane Elias, she was inspired to record this CD - subtitled "Eliane Elias Sings and Plays Bill Evans". She is a good person to pay such homage, since her piano style is - like Bill's - subtle and thoughtful. In fact the predominant mood of this album is gentle and contemplative, although Eliane adds vocals to quite a few of the tunes.

Imprinted on my mind is an image of Bill Evans from the only time I saw him, giving a concert in London. His head was bowed so low over the keyboard that it almost touched the keys. Here, indeed, was an introvert, a pianist who seldom went in for showy musical pyrotechnics. Eliane respects this inward-looking aspect of Evans, although her Brazilian roots ensure that flashes of fire emerge in the music. For instance, the opening You and the Night and the Music combines Evans's clarity and lightness of touch with an infectious swing.

Eliane's vocals are also notable for their clarity, and they add a new dimension to the numbers associated with Evans. Her version of Waltz for Debby starts with a tender vocal but then breaks into a bluesy four-in-a-bar piano solo. In fact she is a more considerable vocalist than many who nowadays pass for jazz singers. Yet it is her piano playing that continually catches the ear, with a harmonic richness similar to that of Bill Evans and a pleasing delicacy of touch. Savour how she blends But Beautiful with Here's That Rainy Day - one tune merging seamlessly into another.

Eliane Elias composed one track herself - the touching After All - and added her own lyrics to a couple of the rediscovered Evans tunes: Here Is Something For You and Evanesque. The album ends with Evans's own sketch for the former, poorly recorded but with generously cascading notes and Bill laughing with pleasure at his invention, which Elias transforms into the brilliant second track. On every other track the recorded sound is attractively clear, although it tends to relegate drummer Joey Baron to the background, leaving Mr and Mrs Johnson to take most of the limelight. But Joey gets occasional moments of glory, like the four-bar breaks in Five.

Eliane deliberately chose to perform a lot of songs on the album, with shortish solos, "and do them in a way that I can deliver my message without having to play five choruses". It gives the listener a remarkably rich, concentrated experience, without a note wasted. This album is not only a deserved tribute to Bill Evans but shining proof of Eliane's established stature as a significant pianist and singer.

Tony Augarde

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