The late Bill Evans was among the truly great pianists in the jazz pantheon. Evans' measured, introspective approach interwove classical and blues influences, was cerebral as well as deeply poignant, both subtle and immediate — he was an influence on Miles Davis and Keith Jarrett, among others. Another acolyte is Brazilian jazz pianist Eliane Elias, whose Something for You pays homage to Evans. Separating — and elevating — Something from the seemingly endless slew of albums-in-tribute-to-somebody is bassist Marc Johnson, whose nimble playing was part of the last edition of the Evans trio; Joey Baron, who can storm with Bill Frisell and John Zorn but is dynamically delicate here; and Elias' moderately dusky vocals.
Elias shares Evans' concept of economy, never playing a flurry of notes when a few judiciously placed (and spaced) ones will do. All of Something's seventeen (!) tracks are in the three-to-five minute range, so it's all-killer, no-filler, no lengthy meandering solos or gee-whiz displays of "technique." While not a fantastic singer, Elias is a promisingly good one, something of a cross between Astrud Gilberto ("Girl from Ipanema") and Joni Mitchell. Her piano is where it's at, whether integrating wry Thelonious Monk angularity on "Five," artfully and joyously swinging on "Solar," or making with closing-time, one-for-my-baby pathos with the gorgeous "My Foolish Heart." For piano fans: A gem!
Seven Days - March 22, 5:57 PM
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