Sunday, March 31, 2013

I Thought About You: A Tribute To Chet Baker Eliane Elias Concord 2013

I Thought About You: A Tribute To Chet BakerJazz can mean a great deal to a wide variety of listeners and here is the good news - there is no "wrong" answer. I have to admit I am dropping this review early for a couple of reasons. The old fashioned street date is somewhat a thing of the past. This street date or major label deal and the word "fuddy-duddy" immediately comes to mind. There are simply too many platforms today including sources such as Spotify where one can hear a new release days if not weeks in advance, I Thought About You is the tribute releases from the incomparable Eliane Elias to trumpet icon Chet Baker. I have enjoyed individual Baker cuts but not a release in finished form. Elias hits my sonic sweet spot and allows this critic the honor of doing a 180 when it comes to an opinion. I Thought About You is one of those rare gems where all the acoustic stars are in perfect alignment and the musicians respond in kind, that and I may be recovering from open heart surgery and I am passionate about several things with jazz high on the list otherwise I am a man of simple pleasures.

While Elias came to prominence with her Brazilian flair, as an interpreter of American standards one would be hard pressed to find an artist as stylish, elegant and sophisticated as Elias. Oh yeah...being a piano virtuoso does not hurt. The band moves in time with the ebb and flow including guitarist Oscar Castro-Neves, drummer Rafarl Barata and percussionist Marivaldo dos Santos along with her highly regarded husband Marc Johnson. Other special guests include guitarist Steve Cardenas and drummer Victor Lewis. Negatives here? Goose egg. There does seem to be a missing Stan Getz vibe but to grind on that would to take hypercritical to a new dimension.

Song selection for this recording covers a wide array of Baker's work and even some of the more eclectic tunes still seem like standards on deck. There is a Stan Getz link with the West Cool sound which allowed a great many Brazilian acts that may have otherwise flown under the radar to fly high in the space of the Brazilian rhythm and blues. Chet and the aforementioned cool jazz artistic movement were keenly influential to the bossa nova artists of the 1950's

Elias transcends category especially with the opening number "I Thought About You." Another intimate tune with the drummer in the jazz witness protection program "Blue Room." A noted lack of percussion seemingly has no effect on some of the more up temp tunes. Randy Brecker far from takes Baker's place but his artistic gifts to take the stage front and center in tribute to Baker.

I'll have more on this release but with a pending hospital visit the date of May 28th, 2013 is one not to miss. One of the years five best.

Tracks: I Thought About You; There Will Never Be Another You; This Can't Be Love; Embraceable You; That Old Feeling; Everything Depends On You; I've Never Been In Love Before; Let's Get Lost; You Don't Know What Love Is; Blue Room; Just Friends; Girl Talk; Just In Time; I Get Along Without You Very Well.