Eliane Elias

The Best of Eliane Elias, Vol. 1: Originals

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This best-of collection tellingly starts off with four consecutive, woefully banal tracks from Elias' 1991 album A Long Story. It's certainly her most commercial work; whether it's her best is highly debatable. The disc doesn't get out from under the fluffy wordless vocals and synth pads until track seven, "Fantasia (To Amanda)," a teasingly short duet with bassist Eddie Gomez. Then, from tracks eight through 12 you're on more solid ground, as Elias shows her mettle in more organic settings (before sinking back into the over-produced morass on the final two cuts). With players like Marc Johnson, Peter Erskine, Jack DeJohnette, and Christian McBride present, the musicianship isn't the issue. But front-loading the disc with ear candy and burying the substantial stuff in the middle seems like a rather cynical move.

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