Eliane Elias' return to the Blue Note label after a decade working elsewhere is a triumph. This salute to the late pianist Bill Evans, one of her favorite players, explores a number of songs he recorded, including both standards and originals. Evans' bassist from his final trio, Marc Johnson, is not only a long-time collaborator with Elias but also her husband; drummer Joey Baron rounds out the band. While Elias is influenced by Evans' playing style, his arrangements are only a launching pad for her approach to each tune; never does she sound like an obvious Evans clone. Her lush take of "My Foolish Heart" features Johnson on the late Scott LaFaro's bass (the talented Evans sideman who died in a 1961 car wreck just ten days after recording the landmark sets with the pianist at the Village Vanguard). "Evanesque" is a newly discovered work that came from a cassette given to Johnson by Evans, so Elias adjusted the work by incorporating new material with his conception. The freewheeling take of "Solar" is a masterful group improvisation upon the Miles Davis theme. Elias' moving ballad "After All" is a sincere tribute to Evans. She has also built confidence in her singing over time; always gifted with a tender, sensuous voice, Elias glides gently over Johnson's walking introduction to "A Sleepin' Bee" and offers an equally delicate "Walt for Debby." She wrote words to Evans' previously unknown "Here Is Something for You," which was also discovered on the cassette given to Johnson. It is heard in two versions, a solo version with voice and piano where Elias mostly closely mirrors Evans' playing, then the original rehearsal by Evans, which segues into an excerpt of Elias' new version. The Japanese version of this delightful CD features an added track, "Re: Person I Knew."
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden