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Talented musician Elias brings Brazil to Guild

| Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
Eliane Elias Credit Second Octave

Pianist/singer Eliane Elias says the variety in her childhood musical experience is what makes her comfortable in a variety of styles at the keyboard.

“Of course, I was surrounded by all the music of Brazil,” says the native of Sao Paulo in that country. “But my mother, who was a classical pianist, also had one of the best collections of jazz, so I heard all kinds of music.”

That blend of music will show up Friday at the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild on the North Side where Elias will perform music ranging from Brazilian hits to jazz standards. She also will sing, as well as play instrumental tunes.

She is a performer who can offer music with a hint of Bud Powell and then go to a version of Stevie Wonder's “My Cherie Amour.”

The concert here likely will show that mix in a trio with Brazilian drummer Rafael Barata and bassist Marc Johnson

“We are able to mix a lot of music,” she says of her work in that trio. “We have jazz, music from Brazil, even some Cajun, too.”

Besides types of music, she also offers a mix of vocals and instrumentals. Her album “Light My Fire,” for instance, is titled after that hit by the Doors. But her current album, “Swept Away,” is an all-instrumental recording. On her next one, being put together now and ready probably by the spring, she probably will offer both, she says.

“I have always tried to do what I really feel like, that way showing the true me,” she says. “I look for new ways to do songs and that keeps it fresh for me, too,” she says.

Elias, 52, has been performing since she was 17, when she worked with singer/songwriter Toquinho in Brazil.

She has been carving a space in jazz since 1982, when she landed a spot with Steps Ahead, a strong jazz fusion band featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, to whom she was married for a time. Her first solo album came out in 1982 and she has been recording steadily since.

Her skills go even beyond jazz, pop and Brazilian music. Her “On the Classical Side” is an album in which she looks at works by J.S. Bach and Maurice Ravel among others.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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