Eliane Elias: Waltz for Debby
Waltz for Debby
Eliane Elias (piano, vocals)
Something for You: Eliane Elias Sings & Plays Bill Evans (Blue Note 11795)
Composed by Bill Evans and Gene Lees.
Recorded: Avatar Studios, New York, no date given (CD released in 2008)
Rating: 90/100 (learn more)
This song is inevitably included on every Bill Evans tribute recording - as familiar as "Round Midnight" when the acolyte followers of Monk gather in homage - and everyone from the
Kronos String Quartet to Jean-Yves Thibaudet has dished up a version. But this is not as easy a song to play as might seem from first glance. Yes, the chord changes are not very challenging, and the tempo typically a gentle medium-tempo waltz. No one will get bruised here. But the song demands a certain childlike quality on the part of the performer. The composition was written, after all, for Evans' niece, and evokes the innocence of the nursery. Over-play this song and you kill it. Sometimes even Evans pushed it too hard.
Eliane Elias gets it just right. She starts with a vocal, drawing on Gene Lees' sweet lyrics, and sings the words with absolute fidelity to the spirit of the composition. She takes the opening chorus with just her own piano accompaniment, and when bassist Marc Johnson (a member of Evans' last trio) and drummer Joey Baron enter, they push the energy level up a notch, but not too much. The whole performance is quite graceful, and will remind you why this song became a standard in the first place.
Reviewer: Ted Gioia
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The State of Jazz Vocals Today by Ted Gioia
Jazz Vocals in the New Millennium: Selected Listening by Ted Gioia
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