Picks and Pans Review: Amanda
Randy Brecker and Eliane Elias
Brecker, a jazz-rock fusion trumpet player with a great command of his instrument, has long been one of the most sought-after studio musicians around. On his solo albums and those he has done with his saxophonist brother Michael, however, he has often sounded cold and overprogrammed, like a mathematician who can handle the most abstruse equation with ease but can't remember his home phone number. Now, on his new album, he has found help with that problem close at hand. The Brazilian-born Elias, who has been Mrs. Brecker since 1983, is a singer who performs with some of the same delicate, lilting passion as her countrywoman, Astrud Gilberto. Her vocals add warmth to the music and seem to draw Brecker out of his abstractions. She also plays a loose, melody-centered piano and shares the arranging duties with her husband, offering an obvious Latinizing influence that's an asset to his band. It's disappointing that there are full-fledged vocals on only two tracks (the other four have miscellaneous ooh-ing). The album is otherwise such a success that it could be used as an example of the wonderful things marriage can do. (Passport)
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