With a musical style that blends Brazilian roots, a sensuous, alluring voice and impressive compositional and piano skills, “There is really nobody like Elaine Elias.” (New York Observer)
She has recorded duets with Herbie Hancock and classical music with opera sensation Denyce Graves; she has been nominated for numerous Grammy Awards and all of her recordings have reached the top five on Billboard. And then there is the spell she weaves over her audience.
Elaine Elias will perform in Three Stages at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 18. This concert is sponsored by Capital Public Radio.
Born in São Paolo, Brazil, Elias was a child prodigy in her native country, transcribing solos of the great jazz masters by age 12 and teaching piano and improvisation at Brazil’s top school by 15. When she arrived in New York City in 1981, she astonished listeners, critics and fellow musicians alike with her pianistic fluency and charismatic stage presence.
After a turn in the original acoustic line-up of Steps Ahead, she launched her starry career as a solo artist. A long line of chart-topping, Grammy Award-nominated recordings for Blue Note, RCA Victor and Concord followed, seeing her shine as both pianist and vocalist, as both an interpreter of classic Brazilian material and a composer of sophisticated, alluring original material. In 2000 appeared “Impulsive!,” an album of Elias’ music arranged by Bob Brookmeyer and performed by the pianist along with the Danish Radio Jazz Orchestra. Elias made her ECM debut in 2005 on bassist Marc Johnson’s “Shades of Jade,” not only playing piano but also contributing several compositions.
“Swept Away” Elias’ most recent CD, released Sept. 25, sees the top-class foursome of double-bassist Marc Johnson, pianist Elias, drummer Joey Baron and saxophonist Joe Lovano commune over music that is engaging and sensual, poetic and swinging. Brazilian-born star Elias previously joined Baron and Lovano on Johnson’s “Shades of Jade,” which reaped praise far and wide. The New York Times enthused over the “luminescence” created by the close partnership between Johnson and Elias, while The Village Voice said the album was “shimmering” yet “Its lusciousness has all sorts of tensile strength.”
Her 2011 “Light My Fire” reached No. 1 on the French Jazz Charts, No. 1 on iTunes France, debuted at No. 3 on Billboard’s Jazz Chart and No. 3 on iTunes and Amazon.com Jazz Charts USA. Internationally, Elias and “Light My Fire” received great praise and unanimously raving reviews. Elias’ composition (music and lyrics) “What about the Heart” (Bate Bate) received a Grammy nomination for Best Brazilian Song. National Public Radio named Elias’ recording of the song “Light My Fire” as one of the top 5 recorded vocal songs of 2011. Backing her is a crew of 12 high-caliber players, including special guests such as guitarist/vocalist Gilberto Gil, bassist Marc Johnson and trumpeter Randy Brecker.
She will perform in a trio format at Three Stages with Marc Johnson (bass) and Rafael Barata (drums)
Tickets are $19 to $29, with premium for $39; students with ID $12. Tickets may be purchased online at threestages.net or from Three Stages ticket office at (916) 608-6888 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Saturday, and two hours before show time. Three Stages is located on the west side of Folsom Lake College campus in Folsom, facing East Bidwell Street.