Brazilian-born pianist/vocalist Eliane Elias continues her run of well-executed sessions for the Concord label with 2019's lush and sultry Love Stories. The album follows up Elias' Grammy-winning 2017 date Dance of Time and arrives a year after she issued her long-delayed Music from Man of La Mancha. Once again, Elias is joined here by the same group that made Dance of Time, including her husband bassist Marc Johnson, drummer Ed Ribeiro, guitarist Marcus Teixeira, and others. Also on board is arranger Rob Mathes, who previously worked with Elias on her equally sumptuous 2015 album Made in Brasil and who has collaborated with an array of artists from across genres including Sting, Luciano Pavarotti, Panic! At the Disco, and many more. Together, Elias and Mathes bring their varied experiences to bear on a set of romantic ballads and breezy pop anthems. At the core of each arrangement is Elias' delicate, naturalistic vocals that recall such iconic Brazilian artists as Astrud Gilberto, Antônio Carlos Jobim, and Nara Leão. Helping set the album's romantic tone, Elias opens with a languid rendition of "A Man and a Woman," the classic theme to the 1966 French film of the same name. She then eases into an inventive reworking of the Roger Ingram and Patti Austin hit "Baby Come to Me," moving from a loungey verse into a propulsive bossa nova-accented chorus. Similarly engaging is her laid-back, Portuguese and English reading of Roberto Menescal and Ronaldo Bôscoli's "Little Boat,' which also spotlights her pristinely melodic jazz piano skills. Elsewhere, she offers urbane takes on standards like "Angel Eyes" and "Come Fly with Me," as well as several of her own atmospheric originals.
AllMusic Review by Matt Collar