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4.5 out of 5 stars
Swept Away
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 1, 2012
Swept Away is the appropriately titled new release from Marc Johnson and Eliane Elias.
Picking a favorite ECM recording is the sonic equivalent of asking a parent to chose a favorite child, this release would at the very least be in the top five. A stunning display of contemporary aesthetics transformed into a more open ended exploratory of warmth and profound lyrical depth.

Joining Johnson and Elias we have Joey Baron on drums and Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone to round out a fearsome 4tet that brings a unique minimalism of smoldering swing that is captivating to say the least. A subtle yet moving sense of romance combined with an organic swing adds great depth to the chemistry within the ensemble be it in trio or quartet settings. The spatial context of lyrical poetry in motion is a beautiful thing. While ECM has long been noted for their pristine sound quality, the majority of the work was written in the home Johnson and Elias share and it is this transference of comfortable aesthetics that firmly ground Swept Away with that special lyrical sense of purpose.

The title track "Swept Away" is an intimate if not introspective tune from Elias to a more engaging melodic flow of "B is for Butterfly." One of the more interesting harmonic adventures is the Eastern influenced "One Thousand and One Nights" which contains a unique dynamic tension thanks to the ability of Elias to shift meter on the fly without losing the dramatic effect of the melody. A tune born from a deep and incredibly rich sonic color palette. The Johnson tune "Midnight Blue" may well be the epitome of what "last call" would sound like if set to music. "Midnight Blue" is a perfectly placed tune contributing to the addictive ebb and flow found within Swept Away. Not to be out done, Johnson virtuoso talent shines on an acoustic bass solo of the classic American folk song "Shenandoah" which is a perfect ending to a stellar release. Joe Lovano contributes a deceptively subtle zen like approach throughout the release, less is more and no notes are wasted. Joey Baron plays with the finesse of a highly skilled surgeon adding just the right amount of well placed nuance when required.

An amazing performance from a quartet that easily ranks as one of the best of the last ten years.
Brent Black @criticaljazz
as with virtually all my reviews, i received a promotional copy for critical review however i would highly recommend this to the average consumer.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Dinner jazz, late night jazz, relaxing and sweet jazz, modern noir jazz, lyrical and penetrating jazz, outstanding improvisational jazz: it is all here. Separate and together, Eliane Elias, piano, and Marc Johnson, bass, compose and arrange the tunes on this album and Joey Baron, drums, and the great Joe Lovano on tenor saxophone help develop the richness and power of the melodies. The only exception to the novel tunes is the old folk song, Shenandoah, which is performed by the bass only in a slow, low, grand manner. Package notes are limited to photographs of the artists, track times, and production credits. ECM typically lets the music speak for itself. The first two tracks immediately melt the listener with lush sonority and instrumental interchange. The third piece is Elias' Middle Eastern allegro fantasy, a bright, noisy affair. Johnson's first tune is next, a sketchy dawn light of slow blues rifts that becomes stronger and contiguous as the sun rises above the horizon. Elias' fluttering butterfly features a happy, playful melody and Johnson's delightful counter rhythm and bass line; they trade places as Johnson solos midway. The plucking bass is soft and resonate. Lovano is the vehicle for Johnson's Midnight Blue, a self-explanatory piece where the sad saxophone exposition is commented by the piano. Moments returns to the sophistication and elegance of the first tracks: a deep exhalation of satisfaction. The first collaborative composition, Sirens of Titan, in keeping with its science-fiction title, is an energetic, driving ride into the musical cosmos. Johnson's Foujita seems to be a nostalgic portrait, perhaps of the French-Japanese artist by that name. Inside Her Old Music Box, the second of the collaborations, has Johnson bowing the bass in melancholy followed by pizzicato and the tinkling piano. This album's variety of styles and composition plus the sensitivity of performance by leading musicians make it a very worthy addition to the jazz treasury.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 10, 2012
Once in a while you come upon a very special CD and it takes up residence in your player for a long time. Swept Away is that kind of CD. The tracks offer a wonderful mix of jazz tempos and moods, all of which are best savoured in the evening when one can really get into the music without any other distractions. But don’t let the word “mix” mislead you — this CD flows extremely well from beginning to end as the musicians weave through the music, exploring its textures and nuances. The fact that the audio quality is amazing is a nice bonus too!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on December 9, 2012
Great CD. I really enjoy it. I bought it because of elaine elias and I was expecting to hear her voice over her usual samba inspired jazzy tracks. However there are no vocals and no samba. More of a jazz album. Not familiar with Marc Johnson. However it is a good cd and I enjoy it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2012
I was swept away by this music. I thought Eliane Elias was at her best in this CD. One of my favorite discs so far. The quartet, with Marc Johnson, Joe Lovano and Joey Baron is in top form. This is serious music and I strongly recommend it. Grab this disc, you won't regret it...
My favorite piece was: B is for butterfly, it is a beautiful piece of music that totally absorbs me and just makes my mind drift.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 23, 2013
Beautiful classic jazz. I was unfamiliar with these artists, and bought this after hearing a single cut from a sampler CD that came with my Winter issue of Jazziz Magazine. BTW I would highly recommend Jazziz to any and all jazz lovers - four print issues, each of which arrives with two CDs, plus 12 digital issues annually each of which includes links to 300+- recordings and videos. So far I have thoroughly enjoyed it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 14, 2013
Throughout the years, ECM records has covered lots of different musical territories, from ultra avante garde jazz, to atmospheric, classical, and music so beautiful and technically proficient that it's inconceivable a human being created it. Keith Jarrett's "The Melody at Night" disc, for example.

Swept Away is a Marc Johnson AND Elaine Elias work of art falling into that last category. All four musicians are at the height of their game. Joe Lovano's lines are mighty fine and tasty, and Joey Baron is completely sizzling on drums.

But this is a Marc and Elaine disc. Elaine has certainly garnered significant accolades over the years, but she really is a talent at the level of true greats of jazz piano. This is one of the few discs that she's not singing on, and you can totally hear the majesty of her playing. There are so many stunning pieces on this disc and her compositions shine.

No weird, dissonant, or hard to absorb pieces here--everything is highly accessible. You'll keep coming back to this disc. Wait till you hear what Elaine does on the piano. She's a stunner, right up there with all the living legends. It's that good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 30, 2013
Gorgeous album. Eliane Elias has maybe the most beautiful sound of any jazz pianist I can think of. She reminds me of Bill Evans. My only complaint is that I wish Mark Johnson was given more room to solo. I saw him at the Village Vanguard 2 months ago. I love his playing. Joe Lovano fits right in on the tracks where he plays.
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9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on September 27, 2012
Not much more needs to be said: it's one of the more rhythmic and interesting new ECM recordings in a long time. Eliane Elias is a gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on June 3, 2013
While I waited for the original CD to arrive, i was able to enjoy the music due to the amazon cloud player option. This is a fantastic collection by the Elias / Johnson team that is sure to please all jazz lovers. Did you know that Marc Johnson played bass with Bill Evans?
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