Eliane Elias

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Eliane Elias
Eliane Elias.jpg
Eliane Elias (2004)
Background information
Born (1960-03-19) 19 March 1960 (age 56)
São Paulo, Brazil
Genres Jazz, Brazilian
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Piano, vocals
Years active 1981–present
Labels Denon, Blue Note, EMI Classics, RCA Concord
Associated acts Toquinho, Vinicius de Moraes, Sebastião Tapajós, Steps Ahead, Randy Brecker
Website www.elianeelias.com

Eliane Elias (Portuguese: [ɛliˈani eˈliəʃ]; born 19 March 1960 in São Paulo)[1][2] is a Brazilian jazz pianist and singer.[3]


Born in São Paulo, she started studying piano at age seven, and at age twelve was transcribing solos from jazz masters. By the time she was fifteen, she was teaching piano and improvisation.[4]

Her performing career began in Brazil at age seventeen, with Brazilian singer-songwriter Toquinho and touring with the poet Vinicius de Moraes. In 1981, she moved to New York City where she attended The Juilliard School of Music.[5] A year later she became part of the group Steps Ahead.[6]

Her first album was a collaboration with Randy Brecker entitled Amanda in 1984.[7] Shortly after, her solo career began when she signed to Blue Note Records and released the album Illusions in 1987, featuring Steve Gadd and Stanley Clarke.[8] The following year Cross Currents appeared, with Eddie Gomez and Peter Erskine.[9] The third solo album, So Far So Close, was produced by Eumir Deodato in 1989.[10] Elias's recordings have garnered praise from critics and have topped the Billboard and jazz radio charts. In 1988 she was voted Best New Talent in the Critics Poll of Jazziz magazine.[6]

In 1993 Elias signed with EMI Classics to record classical pieces, which were released as On the Classical Side.[5] Her album with Herbie Hancock, Solos and Duets (1995), was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Solo Performance. In the 1997 Downbeat Readers Poll, her album The Three Americas was voted Best Jazz Album. She has recorded two albums dedicated to Antonio Carlos Jobim: Eliane Elias Plays Jobim and Eliane Elias Sings Jobim (1988). The latter won Best Vocal Album in Japan and was awarded Best Brazilian Album in the Jazziz Critics Poll.[citation needed]

In 2001, Calle 54, a documentary by Oscar-winning Spanish director Fernando Trueba, featured Elias performing "Samba Triste" and also received a Grammy nomination for Best Latin Jazz Album. In 2002, she recorded The Lost Days with Denyce Graves, arranging two Brazilian classical pieces and wrote an original composition especially for Graves entitled "HaabiaTupi". In 2002, Elias signed with RCA/Bluebird and released Kissed by Nature, an album of mostly original compositions. Dreamer, her second recording for the label was released in 2004 and received the Gold Disc Award, as well as being voted Best Vocal Album in Japan in 2004. It reached No. 3 on the pop charts in France and No. 4 on the Billboard charts in the U.S. Elias' Around the City was released on RCA Victor in August 2006.[4]

She returned to Blue Note/EMI in 2007 with Something for You, which won Best Vocal Album of the Year and the Gold Disc Award in Japan. This is also the third consecutive recording of Elias to receive these awards and her fourth overall. Something for You reached No. 1 on the U.S. Jazz Radio charts, No. 8 on Billboard and No. 2 on the French Jazz Charts. In 2008, she recorded Bossa Nova Stories to celebrate the 50th anniversary of bossa nova.[6]

In 2009, EMI Japan released Eliane Elias Plays Live. Light My Fire (2011) features four compositions written or co-written by Elias and also includes covers by songwriters including Jim Morrison and the Doors, Stevie Wonder and Paul Desmond. In September 2011, her song "What About the Heart (Bate Bate)" was nominated for a Latin Grammy in the category of Best Brazilian Song. In 2012, she collaborated with bassist Marc Johnson on the album Swept Away, the Editor's and Critic's choice in 2012 Downbeat and Jazztimes magazines respectively. Her 2013 release, I Thought About You reached No. 1 on U.S. and France Amazon.com, No. 2 on iTunes U.S., France and Brazil, and No. 4 on Billboard Jazz Charts.[11]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Randy Brecker, with whom she has a daughter, the singer Amanda Brecker (1984).[6] They separated in the early 1990s,[5] and she is currently married to Marc Johnson, who plays bass in her band.[11]


  • 1995: Solos and Duets with Herbie Hancock, nominated for Grammy for Best Jazz Solo Performance
  • 1997: The Three Americas, Best Jazz Album by DownBeat Readers Poll
  • 2011: "What about the Heart (Bate Bate)" nominated for Latin Grammy, Best Brazilian Song
  • 2015: Made in Brazil, won Grammy for Best Latin Jazz Album


Solo albums[edit]

Compilation albums[edit]

  • 1995: Best of
  • 2001: The Best of Eliane Elias, Vol. 1: Originals
  • 2003: Timeless Eliane Elias (Savoy Jazz)
  • 2003: Brazilian Classics (Blue Note)
  • 2004: Giants of Jazz: Eliane Elias (Savoy Jazz)
  • 2005: Sings & Plays


Within Steps Ahead
With Randy Brecker
  • 1985: Amanda (Passport)
With Joe Henderson
With Marc Johnson

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eliane Elias biography, BrowseBiography.com, 20 November 2011; retrieved 10 September 2014.
  2. ^ Eliane Elias: Around The City (2006), allaboutjazz.com, 30 September 2006; retrieved 10 September 2014.
  3. ^ "Eliane Elias biography". AllAboutJazz.com. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Smith, Baldwin (20 March 2015). "Jazz Monthly Feature Interview Eliane Elias". jazzmonthly.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c Heckman, Don (6 February 1994). "A Classic Case of Crossover Artistry: Jazz pianist Eliane Elias may be from Brazil, but her repertoire is not just from Ipanema". Los Angeles Times. 
  6. ^ a b c d Pena, Tomas (19 February 2009). "In Conversation With Elaine Elias". Retrieved 20 March 2015. 
  7. ^ Listing for the Amanda album on Discogs.com; accessed 21 March 2015.
  8. ^ Listing for the Illusions album on Discogs.com; accessed 21 March 2015.
  9. ^ Listing for the Cross Currents album on Discogs.com (21 March 2015).
  10. ^ Listing for the So Far So Close album on Discogs.com; accessed 21 March 2015.
  11. ^ a b Verity, Michael. "Eliane Elias Talks About "I Thought About You"". jazz.about.com. Retrieved 21 March 2015. 

External links[edit]