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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brazilian perfume
The music of Eliane Elias is deeply harmonic and sensual. At its heart is utterly superb jazz piano - rhythmic, gently propulsive and essentially (though not overtly) Brazilian. Elias infuses her sonorous, vibrant playing with some pleasingly melodic, whispery-delicate vocals - always pitch-perfectly complementing her sumptuous piano verve.

'Bossa Nova Stories'...
Published on August 24, 2008 by G Mojay

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what you'd expect
There are about two pieces (Chega de Saudade, the Girl of Ipanema), that are at the level that I expected from this CD. The other Brazilian pieces were okay but not as exciting as they could be (given the abilities of this performer). I was disappointed by the shallow rendition of most of the American selections.I would not buy the whole album again.
Published 16 months ago by Pat Repucci


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81 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brazilian perfume, August 24, 2008
This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
The music of Eliane Elias is deeply harmonic and sensual. At its heart is utterly superb jazz piano - rhythmic, gently propulsive and essentially (though not overtly) Brazilian. Elias infuses her sonorous, vibrant playing with some pleasingly melodic, whispery-delicate vocals - always pitch-perfectly complementing her sumptuous piano verve.

'Bossa Nova Stories' combines loving interpretations of Brazilian jazz classics with some popular American standards, all quality-assured by the formidable rhythm section of top-level bassist Marc Johnson (her husband) and percussionist Paulo Braga. About half the tracks are enriched by subtle orchestral arrangements conducted by Rob Mathes - reminiscent to me of those that embellish Diana Krall's 'The Look of Love'.

'Bossa Nova Stories' is essential listening to all who like, or certainly who love, Brazilian jazz. Track no 6, 'Estate (Summer'), can only be described as sublime - one of the most exquisite of jazz-samba melodies taken assuredly by Elias to a new level with the help of Toot Thieleman's passionate, playful harmonica. Further album standouts include 'Girl from Ipanema', 'Desafinado', 'Superwoman' and 'Rã (The Frog)'.

The album may not be as accomplished in jazz terms as the powerful 'Paulistana' or as innovative as the highly recommended 'Kissed by Nature', which comprises some wonderful Elias originals. Yet as an uplifting virtuoso homage to Brazilian jazz, 'Bossa Nova Stories' is a wise investment in complete musical enjoyment.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Romantic, Cool, Jazzy, Sensuous, Sublime Bossa Nova", April 6, 2009
This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
"I grew up in Sao Paulo in the 60s hearing the Bossa Nova. It was all around us. This was the popular music of our day, with its infectious rhythm and poetic lyrics; romantic, cool, jazzy, sensuous, sublime. I lived and breathed this music. It's in my DNA." ~ Eliane Elias ~

I have enjoyed Bossa Nova music as far back as I can remember. How I love its enthralling sounds. About four years ago, while I was searching at Amazon.com for some new Bossa Nova albums that would appeal to my ears, I came across Dreamer and after listening to snippets, I was pleased with what I heard and immediately placed my order on "one-click." And that was my first exposure to Eliane Elias. That album triggered me to explore her discography and have since added to my collection Brazilian Classics, Sings Jobim, Something for You: Eliane Elias Sings & Plays Bill Evans and of late this remarkable album, "Bossa Nova Stories."

The album contains a mix of seven Brazilian songs, five standards from the Great American Songbook, a beautiful Italian song "Estate" which features the exquisite harmonica playing of a great musician Toots Thielemans, and a Stevie Wonder song "Superwoman." The entire album delights the listeners not only with her cool and smooth vocals, but her pianistic flair on Steinway as well. She is backed up by Oscar Castro-Neves and Ricardo Vogt on guitar, Marc Johnson on bass, Paulo Braga on drums and percussion, and an orchestra arranged and conducted by Rob Mathes, a fine arranger who is also known for his wonderful works with Tony Bennett, Carly Simon, Sting, Stevie Wonder, Sade, Natalie Cole, Renee Fleming, Luciano Pavarotti, Peter Cincotti, and The Boston Pops, among many others.

For an opener, the versatile Eliane Elias transports the listeners to a place evocative of the pristine beaches of Rio as she confidently sings in English and Portuguese the most-widely recorded and most popular Bossa Nova staple, "The Girl From Ipanema."

She fine-tuned the best-loved Brazilian standards and made them more engaging and especially pleasing to the ears as she glides to the "infectious rhythms and poetic lyrics" of "Desafinado," "Chega de Saudade" and "A Ra." She is at her utmost best and more at home singing these songs having admitted that she "lived and breathed Bossa music." It is truly in her "DNA."

The chart for a perennial favorite "They Can't Take That Away From Me," which starts off with Oscar Castro-Neves' beguiling guitar intro, is immersed with the coolest and typical Bossa Nova arrangement. It is as charming as her takes on "Too Marvelous For Words," "Day In Day Out," "Day By Day" and "The More I See You." It is ever so nice listening to timeless standards with seasonings of flavorful and tasty Bossa Nova spices.

In sum, this is one of the loveliest albums ever recorded in the history of Brazilian jazz. I just hope there will be a follow-up album of this genre - Bossa Nova Stories, Volume Two - which will include fresh recordings of my all-time favorite Brazilian classics such as "Triste," "Mas Que Nada," "Agua de Beber," "A Felicidade," "Manha de Carnaval," "So Danco Samba," "O Amor En Paz," "Insensatez" and "Aquarela do Brasil."

Please give it a listen and appreciate the beauty of Bossa Nova music.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Singing in top form, but not on a par with Dreamer, January 13, 2009
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This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
After Something For You, the very nice tribute album to Bill Evans, Eliane Elias releases Bossa Nova Stories, another all-singing album resembling the concept of Dreamer (actually Dreamer contains a very touching instrumental version of A House Is Not A Home as the closing track). Not all the tracks are Bossa Nova tunes but they are interpreted in such a style.

Her singing is surely in top form, but the music lacks the magic slightly as compared to Dreamer. One of the reasons may be that the jazz trio element has been suppressed. Meanwhile, Elaine Elias' idiosyncratic "Merry-Go-Round" type solo lines are mostly missing. While she redoes a number of Jobim tunes in this album, the results are not as tasteful as her previous attempts. Take Chega de Saudade for example, the treatment is much fresher in her earlier album Three Americas.

Listeners who would like to experience the best singing of Eliane Elias, I strongly recommend Dreamer (check comments from the Amazon reviewers), Kiss of Nature (her best album so far in my opinion), Eliane Elias Sings Jobim, and Three Americas. I give 5 stars to all of these albums. Despite saying that, the present album is at most 10% off to her best work. My rating is still rounded up to 5 stars.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Some But Not All, January 13, 2009
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This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
Eliane Elias is my favorite jazz artist, but I almost did not buy this CD. Although "The Girl from Ipanema," "Chega de Saudade," and "Desafinado" are all classics, I have been there enough times, including with her. Also, she offered no original compositions. Still, aside from Stevie Wonder's "Superwoman," the rest of the music was unfamiliar to me, including four other Brazilian numbers, and I decided to check it out.

As in some of Eliane's other recent CDs, there is orchestral backing, here on half of the tracks, including "The Girl from Ipanema" and "Desafinado." The orchestral sweeps combined with other good musicianship make "Girl" one of the best versions I have heard; Eliane, with her richer, warmer voice, sings it better than Astrud Gilberto. Both "Desafinado" and "Chega de Saudade" are also performed nicely. But the best track is "Estate," of Martino and Brighetti, two Italian Brunos. It has a gorgeous texture complemented by Toots Thielemans' soul-searching harmonica (Toots also toots his horn a la Stevie in "Superwoman"). "Estate" would have fit into the texture of Eliane's CD "Dreamer" and been the stickout there as well.

For the rest, things are not quite so great. As always, Elaine's singing and technical proficiency on the piano do not slip from the mark. However, the inclusion of five old-line popular American songs (from George Gershwin, Johnny Mercer, and some lesser known folks) brings into question the validity of the CD's title, "Bossa Nova Stories." I am aware that this sort of music contributed to the development of bossa nova. However, I desire original and modern, sultry and exotic, from Eliane, in contrast to the "happy" but plain older-line songs. Granted "Dreamer" had some popular stuff, but the U.S. material was prettier and more crisp "pop" than old-line "popular." Helped by good production work, it fit into "Dreamer." The popular sound here calls for a title change, even with some aspects of bossa nova rhythm infused into it.

Still, there are other good moments, most notably the speed-up in pace of Joao Donato's "Minha Saudade" and "A Ra." Eliane's straight-ahead piano magicianship and the bright beat of the Brazilian rhythm keep things interesting, yes...exotic. "Estate" and the other strong material make this a CD worth having, and those whose tastes are so suited will enjoy the U.S. popular material as well.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bossa Nova Experience, December 3, 2008
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This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
There are stories that only become better with time. Depending on who tells them, of course.
Eliane Elias is not only a talented pianist, but also a wonderful singer, reminescent of Astrud Gilberto, but in her own right.
This disk has such wonderfully fresh takes on classic bossa nova as "The Girl From Ipanema" and "Desafinado", as well as jazz standards like "They Can't Take That Away From Me" or "Day By Day". And even a great version of Stevie Wonder's "Superwoman".
Also pay attention to Ivan Lins, brilliant as ever, in "I'm Not Alone". Another special guest star is Toots Thielmans and Oscar Castro Neves is an exceptional guitar player.
This is music both for bossa nova lovers and those who have never even heard of it before. After listening to it they are going to become obsessed with the music.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Breaks some new ground for Eliane, February 2, 2009
This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
The first time through, I wasn't sure I would love this album the way I have some of Eliane's earlier works. The string arrangements, while beautiful and tasteful, may make this CD have slightly more commercial appeal, perhaps similar to Diana Krall and, with this release, Eliane may attract a wider audience. That said, Elias' skills in interpretation of bossa nova, are among the best of any living artist, and I hope the CD will lead more people to discover that the spirit of bossa nova can show itself in music as far-flung as a Stevie Wonder song and a Johnny Mercer song. If you are just discovering Eliane, be sure to listen to Eliane Elias Plays Jobim

The beautiful Ivan Lins tune "I'm Not Alone (Who Loves You)" is my favorite one on this CD. A strong second is the beautiful "Estate" written by an Italian composer and sung in Italian (and often mistakenly thought to be Brazilian in origin.) For my favorite English version of Estate, see the Shirley Horn album Here's to Life
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a stellar album, March 31, 2009
By 
Matthew G. Sherwin (last seen screaming at Amazon customer service) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
Bossa Nova Stories is a fine new album by Eliane Elias; I'm very impressed! She sings wonderfully as she puts her heart and soul into each and every ballad she sings. Eliane has the ability to sing out a song and use her voice to convey every last nuance of the emotions in a song's lyrics; and her impeccable sense of timing enhances her performance all the more. The quality of the sound on this CD is excellent; and I love that artwork--it's all very tastefully done.

The CD starts with the classic boss nova ballad entitled "The Girl From Ipanema" by Antonio Carlos Jobim. "The Girl From Ipanema" sports some great percussion and the strings are used to great advantage. This number creates an auspicious beginning for the album and that's grand. Eliane sings this with a great deal of feeling and just one listen proves it. In addition, "The More I See You" has a fine musical arrangement--but the music never steals the show from Eliane; she remains squarely front and center, right where she belongs! The arrangement isn't just pretty; it's also very creative and it all holds its own very well. I love it!

"They Can't Take That Away From Me" by George Gershwin gets a major transfusion of that elegant bossa nova sound; and it works well. Eliane performs this without letting go of a single superfluous note. I also like "Desafinado (Slightly Out Of Tune)" by Antonio Carlos Jobim. Not only does "Desafinado (Slightly Out Of Tune)" sound heavenly when I hear Eliane sing it faultlessly, it seems so fresh and new when she sings it. "Estate (Summer)" is a particularly beautiful number; I agree with some other reviewers that this ballad is a big highlight of this album.

"Too Marvelous For Words" has a bossa nova sound that has something of a smooth jazz side dish served along with it; Eliane handles this like the pro she always is! "Falsa Baiana" is a Portuguese number that gets the royal treatment by Eliane Elias and the musicians; they do this one up right! It has a spirited sound with notes that are almost staccato. "Minha Saudade" by João Donato is one of the most beautiful bossa nova numbers I've ever heard; and that lush musical arrangement is very memorable. "Minha Saudade" is also one of my very favorite songs on this CD and I think you'll like it very much if you enjoy bossa nova music.

"A Rã (The Frog)" by João Donato and Caetano Veloso has another great piano arrangement; and the CD ends very nicely with Eliane Elias performing "Day By Day." "Day By Day" plays with major and minor keys a little to enhance the natural beauty of this ballad; and it makes a fine closing number for this album.

Eliane Elias has given us a gift by sharing her talent with us; we are so much better off for it. This CD is a "must-have" for Eliane's fans; and people who enjoy bossa nova music will not be disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Is there anything she cant do?, February 16, 2009
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This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (MP3 Music)
This is another fine effort from Eliane, building on her past body of work. I cant really add much to what has been written already, but if you enjoyed any of her past work, then this one wont disappoint. She just gets better with age, her voice more confident, her face more beautiful.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fabulous...Sensual......., May 26, 2009
By 
This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
I bought this album after hearing some selections on the radio...it is an absolutely wonderful recording of some great music sung by one of the sexiest voices I've ever heard. Now, Miss Elias is no little girl; she's an old pro who has refined her art thru years of experience...and refined it very well, indeed.

Bossa Nova is a Brazilian art form that goes back about as far as Miss Elias does...early 1960s. Astrud Gilberto is, of course, the prototype, and the first cut renders homage to her "The Girl From Ipanema". No comparisons; the voices are just too different. (For the record, I love Astrud)! It has NEVER been sung better, though I confess that, in my mind, I shall always hear it in Astrud's voice. "Desafinado" and "Estate" have, of course, been recorded by Astrud, and others. Many of those recordings are beautiful, but, again, none are better.

The English selections deserve some comment: Miss Elias has a superb command of our language, and a REALLY sexy accent. Harry Warren's "The More I See You" is one of my personal favorites. I think it was taken a bit fast, and Carly Simon's version is hard-wired into my brain, but I still loved it. Gershwin's "They Can't Take That Away From Me", Rube Bloom's "Day In Day Out", Richard Whiting's "Too Marvelous For Words": no quibbles. None. Nor with any of the other English numbers.

If you get the idea that I'm quite taken with this disc, you're right. It's not all "Bossa Nova", despite the title, but it's altogether one of the finest recordings I've heard in a LONG time. Great music, great voice, great production. Some cuts more familiar than others, naturally, but you're going to like it ALL. Five stars are WAY too few!!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Rare Gem, January 26, 2009
By 
David Zeigler (Lumberton, NC United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bossa Nova Stories (Audio CD)
I just finished listening to this album for the first time, and even on first listen this recording is easily the equal of Eliane's earlier Dreamer album--which I love. Both show the talent of this lady to the fullest. She is quite simply the Brazilian Diana Krall, but perhaps she is even more talented since she often does her own arrangements--and she does this very well indeed. So, Eliane is physically beautiful, an excellent pianist, writes smooth engaging arrangements, is very literate (I once heard her do a radio interview), has an almost infallible sense of taste---where does it end? Is there anything she can't do well?

One thing is sure, Eliane knows how to sing the bossa nova. She even knows how to take songs that were not written as bossa nova and convert them into real bossa nova gems. The More I See You, They Can't Take That Away from Me, and Day in Day Out are transformed completely and wonderfully here into smooth sensual bossa nova pieces that sound as though they were always meant to be done this way.

Like Diana Krall, her voice may be somewhat limited in range, but who cares when her performances are so tastefully and beautifully done. I am not a fan of female singers who feel they must show their chops to the fullest on every song they sing, thus overshadowing and even destroying the song in the process. Eliane obviously takes care to respect each song and, if anything, trys to increase its beauty and appeal without any though of showing off in the process. If you liked Dreamer, you will definitely like this outing. I expect to LOVE it after a couple more listenings. Thank you Eliane!!!
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Bossa Nova Stories
Bossa Nova Stories by Eliane Elias
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