Eliane Elias ‘I thought about you. A tribute to Chet Baker’ (Blue Note) 4/5

Eliane_EliasBrazilian pianist-singer Eliane Elias returns with an album that, although devoted to trumpeter Chet Baker, incorporates some of her own Brazilian roots and that makes the set all the more listenable and worthwhile. The great American songbook serves as the backdrop to this album and with a top line-up of Marc Johnson on bass, Victor Lewis on drums and guests including guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves and ex-husband trumpeter Randy Brecker, you know you are in for a treat. Elias and co breeze through a bossa-flavoured ‘There will never be another you’ with Brecker in attendance while ‘Let’s get lost’ is performed as a samba-jazz vehicle. While the faithful rendition of ‘You don’t know what love is’ is both intimate and moody, ‘Everything depends on you’ is performed as a pared down duet between piano and guitar and is a classy affair. If Elias’s vocal range in English is somewhat limited in comparison to others. she more than makes up with her piano playing which is never less than first class and she excels on extended solos such as on ‘I’ve never been in love before’. This writer would like to hear more of this side of the pianist’s repertoire. The title track features blues inflections on piano that recall Gene Harris in his prime. As ever with Eliane Elias releases, the visual aspect of the front and inner covers aims to attract attention and does not disappoint! Tim Stenhouse