Eliane Elias: I Thought About You (A Tribute To Chet Baker)

Some weeks ago I received a newsletter from Concord Music including an offer to buy CDs released in 2013 for a reduced price. I took the opportunity and ordered some CDs including a free download and a signed booklet.

One of the CDs was Eliane Elias’ tribute to Chet Baker. Chet Baker died 25 years ago and there is a little bit of an extra remembrance about him, even if I never had the impression he is really forgotten, since playing “cool” was never out of fashion.

The group that supports Eliane Elias on this CD are her husband Marc Johnson on bass, Victor Lewis on drums (the two played with Chet Baker – as I have learned), Randy Brecker on trumpet and flugelhorn and two guitar players, Steve Cardenas and Oscar Castro-Neves, and these two guitar players make for me the difference on this CD. Some tunes are played without a drummer like the title song “I Thought About You” and bass and guitar lay the perfect foundation for a really cool and groovy song.

On “There Will Never Be Another You“ the samba groove comes from an acoustic guitar and in other tunes (e.g. in the intro of „Just In Time“) piano and guitar play the melody together which I think is just a classic sound.

Nevertheless, the rest of the CD is also quite remarkable:

  • Randy Brecker shows his skills with notable trumpet solos on “There Will Never Be Another You”,  “That Old Feeling” and with the flugelhorn on “Just Friends”.
  • Some of may favorite tunes like “You Don’t Know What Love Is” or “Girl Talk” are found on the CD.
  • “Embraceable You” and “Let’s Get Lost” have a lengthy coda where Eliane Elias is improvising over some simple changes and creates a nice groove.
  • “Just in Time” starts with a fantastic piano and guitar intro. The bass is then defining the fast tempo of this song and only the guitar accompanies the singing.
  • The CD ends with a beautiful ballad “I Get Along Without You Very Well” where Eliane Elias is alone, just her voice and her piano playing.

 If you like the sound of traditional and perfectly swinging jazz, you should try to listen to this CD. I like it a lot.

Concord released also an informative video to promote the album:

 

Bob Margolin and Frank Salis’ H3O: Back To the Blues

After the Christmas holidays and the new year’s symphony concert (where I had the pleasure to listen to a great concert of Beethoven’s 9th symphony) it was time to go back to the roots – back to the blues. This week offered the right choice to do that:

1. Bob Margolin in Marian’s Jazzroom: Bob Margolin, who played between 1973 and 1980 in Muddy Water’s band came with Tad Walters on guitar and harmonica and Chuck Cotton on drums.

Quite an unusual setup but Bob showed where the blues is coming from: A man with guitar sings the blues. Some friends join in – that’s it. The way Bob Margolin plays the guitar reminded me very strong of the sound of Muddy Waters and this is also something Bob admits himself:

“Having spent so much time on bandstands with Muddy playing next to me, listening super-critically to my every note, I still feel like he’s there, judging everything I play, and giving me special inspiration, and sometimes a smile, sometimes a dirty look.”

It was not any different this evening, the spirit that came from Bob Margolin was full of that feeling sucked in from his time with Muddy. And the stories he told, showed how the blues, how this inspiration is handed over from generation to generation. Bob Margolin does it the same way as he learned it before, he brought Tad Walters as the young guy to teach it.

Bob played some of his tunes, some classic blues pieces and a little bit of country-blues (we heard “The Weight”).  After starting rather slowly, the band picked up during the show and it became a nice evening with a lot of memories coming up.

Bob Margolin “didn’t want to scare us” with too loud or to fast songs, but the second group I saw this week didn’t really care about that.

2. Frank Salis H3O feat. Francis Coletta in the bejazz club: Frank Salis (org),  Marco Nevano (sax), Rocco Lombardi (dr) from Ticino together with Francis Coletta (g) from Fribourg didn’t waste any thoughts if it could be too loud or too fast, they played what they love – groovy and funky jazz music. Franko Nevano’s playing has a heavy blues touch and Francis Coletta adds the hard-bop component to this band. The H3O band is very well rehearsed, Francis Coletta was in the studio to record the “Stonebreaker” CD in 2011 and joins every now and then the band.

These guys knew each other very well but that did not save the audience from surprises: The young talented singer Céline Piguet joined the band to sing one song at the end of each set. And here I had my deja-vu. Again people with different experience and age come together and pass on this spirit for live, rhythmic and improvised music from generation to generation.

If you like a groovy-funky jazz-organ then don’t miss this band, Frank Salis knows how to play this instrument very well and he is backed-up with an excellent drummer and a bluesy saxophone. If you get the chance to see H3O with Francis Coletta, even better, because he added the special touch with his guitar solos to this evening.

Two very good concerts which had one thing in common and brought me back to the roots of jazz music. It was indeed an excellent start in the new year.

The iTunes widgets contain links to two albums with Bob Margolin. The young Bob in Muddy Waters’ famous CD “Hard Again” and the grown-up Bob on his solo CD “In North Carolina”:

 

Frank Salis’ CD is not available on iTunes (you can order it directly from him, look at www.franksalis.com),  but I have added a live video which is found on YouTube: