Marc Johnson & Eliane Elias

Swept Away

(ECM)

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BASSIST Marc Johnson and pianist Eliane Elias were born thousands of miles apart, in Nebraska and Sao Paolo respectively, but husband and wife bonded partly through a shared love of legendary jazz pianist Bill Evans, in whose last trio Johnson played. Their second ECM album, with drummer Joey Barron and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano, has Evans touches. It starts strongly with three Elias pieces: the idyllic, pastoral piano trio title track; the bluesy, elegiac It's Time, where Lovano makes his first, authoritative appearance; and One Thousand And One Nights, whose groovy insistence calls to mind Keith Jarrett's Scandinavian quartet. Elias is superb on them, a soulful, engaging soloist and totally involved accompanist. The rest of the album doesn't always measure up but Elias is a consistently inspired presence, contributing another highlight in her rolling, melodic B Is For Butterfly and adding intuitive keyboard knowledge to ballad, tone poem and Johnson's smoky, afterhours-flavoured Midnight Blue.

Rob Adams