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Johnson, Marc/Eliane Elias: Swept Away

Swept Away is the title of the new release from the collaboration of double-bassist Marc Johnson and pianist Eliane Elias, but equally important are the contributions of drummer Joey Baron and tenor saxophonist Joe Lovano. All four are veterans of the ECM roster, and working together as a quartet the musicians have delivered some magical sounds on Swept Away.

Most of the songs here just reek of class and majestic-ness thanks to all involved, whether it be the lush opening title track, and sultry "It's Time", or the dramatic & engaging "One Thousand and One Nights". Elias always seems to be at the forefront with her regal melodies, anchored by the elastic grooves and Johnson and Baron's gentle touch. Lovano's yearning lines perfectly mimic Johnson's tender notes on "When the Sun Comes Up", and the gorgeous "B Is For Butterfly" contains possibly some of the most charming interplay amongst Elias and Johnson on the CD. Other highlights include the smokey jazz of "Midnight Blue", the more complex "Sirens of Titan" (featuring some great melodies from Lovano), and the exquisite "Inside Her Old Music Box", an intoxicating number co-written by both Elias & Johnson that features some wonderful plucked & bowed bass work from Johnson. The bassist again wows on the haunting closer "Shenandoah", delivering some restrained yet highly melodic lead bass lines and chords.

Swept Away will indeed leave jazz fans 'swept away' by its beauty and class, as these four musicians have put together a highly enjoyable platter of sophisticated and melodic jazz that falls more on the laid back end but satisfies greatly. We can only hope that we'll hear more from this outfit in the years to come.

Track Listing
01 Swept Away
02 It's Time
03 One Thousand And One Nights
04 When The Sun Comes Up
05 B Is For Butterfly
06 Midnight Blue
07 Moments
08 Sirens Of Titan
09 Foujita
10 Inside Her Old Music Box
11 Shenandoah

Added: January 7th 2013
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ECM Records
Hits: 2246
Language: english

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Johnson, Marc/Eliane Elias: Swept Away
Posted by Jon Neudorf, SoT Staff Writer on 2013-01-07 20:46:38
My Score:

Pianist Marc Johnson has remained synonymous in the world of jazz having played with the legendary Bill Evans and has appeared on many jazz recordings. This time around his name is front and center, leading a fantastic quartet of musicians including his wife Eliane Elias (piano), Joey Baron (drums) and Joe Lovano (tenor saxophone).

The sound on Swept Away is very spacious with the tunes played at a slower tempo. Within these confines the music often carries a wistful nostalgic vibe as in the romantically induced title track and the wonderful "It's Time" where Baron's subdued drumming matches perfectly with Elias's melancholic piano and Lovano's lovely sax work.

These are excellent musicians and all show incredible restraint, especially Baron's drumming which exhibits a subdued complexity. A case in point is the delicate "Inside Her Old Music Box" where Baron's use of cymbals is both dynamic and inventive. Johnson's lush bow work is also a highlight providing a melancholic wall of sound that meshes nicely with the album's overall pensive mood.

Of a more experimental nature is the album ending "Sheandoah", featuring only Johnson's solo bass. It's cavernous nature is somehow a fitting close to what is an excellent jazz record.

Swept Away is a fine addition to the ECM catalogue and any fan of jazz would do well to check it out. I give this one a well-earned four stars.

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