Eliane Elias


Born: March 19, 1960; Sao Paulo, Brazil  
The classical tradition meets the spontaneity of jazz through the virtuosic playing of Brazil-born and New York-based pianist Eliane Elias. A former member of jazz ensemble Steps Ahead, Elias has continued to explore two distinct musical streams through her solo recordings and her performances for the past decade. In 1993, she became one of the few artists to simultaneously release jazz and classical albums. In a review of a concert in her Read more homeland, Brazzil magazine praised Elias for "her dazzling right hand runs, executed often at frightening speeds. Her command of the keyboard was total. Her harmonic sensibility caused a sense of wondermint." Elias inherited her musical talents from her mother, Lucy, a classical pianist who often played jazz records in the family home. After studying for six years at the Free Center of Music Apprenticeship in Sao Paulo, she continued to study classical technique with Amilton Godoy and Amaral Vieria. By her teens, Elias was composing her own pieces and performing in jazz clubs. While touring in Europe in 1981, she met jazz bassist Eddie Gomez and was encouraged to travel to New York. Arriving in the Big Apple the following year, she studied privately with Olegna Fuschi at the Juilliard School of Music. Elias' professional career received a boost when she was invited to join Steps Ahead, a jazz "supergroup" featuring Michael Brecker, Peter Erskine, Mike Manieri, and Eddie Gomez. She recorded one album with the group -- Steps Ahead -- in 1983. Shortly after leaving Steps Ahead, Elias began collaborating with trumpet player Randy Brecker, whom she subsequently married. Their sole duo album, released in 1985, was named after their daughter Amanda. The following year, Elias launched her career as a bandleader. Since then, she's alternated tours with two different trios, one featuring Jack DeJohnette and Gomez and the other featuring Erskine and Marc Johnson. Elias has also performed with a third trio, featuring Marc Johnson on bass and Satoshi Takeshi on drums. Her 1995 album Solos and Duets featured a brilliantly executed duet with Herbie Hancock. While most of her recordings have been instrumental, Elias introduced her soft but coarse vocals on her 1989 album Eliane Elias Plays Jobim. In addition to working periodically with Toots Thielman's Brasil Project, Elias has served as musical director for Gilberto Gil's group. ~ Craig Harris Read less
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