June 21, 2011
From: Jazz Promo Services
Press Contact: Jim Eigo, firstname.lastname@example.org
New York, NY 10022-6201
Eliane Amherd – voice and guitar
Bill Ware – vibes
Gustavo Amarante – bass
Willard Dyson – drums
Ze Mauricio – percussion
Now And From Now On, the debut American release from the amazing Swiss import singer/guitarist/songwriter Eliane Amherd, introduces US audiences to the freshest new talent to come into the world of jazz, AfroCaribbean and Brazilian music in a very long time. Hailed as “one of the very best singers in New York” by trumpeter Randy Brecker and “a terrific guitarist” by Marc Ribot, who exclaims, “Eliane rocks!” – Amherd is an equally talented composer/lyricist whose words and music are as refreshing as the air of the Swiss Alps where she was raised. A natural born storyteller, Eliane’s songs vividly come to life with enthusiasm and humor as she narrates the fascinating tales of her worldly adventures, which are simultaneously personal and universal, with a most appealing drama and wit.
As individual as her lyrics, Eliane’s original melodies are also a reflection of her unique musical background. Growing up listening to sounds from all overEurope and the Americas, without regard to national boundaries, she has developed a personal style blended from so many myriad influences that eachingredient has been smoothly subsumed into her own heady new brew. Since coming to New York, she has grown her talent in the company of the many likeminded players who share her goal to synthesize the many different sounds they all admire. Here on Now And From Now On, four of her regular colleagues –Brazilians, bassist Gustavo Amarante and percussionist Ze Mauricio and a AfroAmerican jazzmen, vibraphonist Bill Ware and drummer Willard Dyson – join Eliane to come together to make the music (all but Tom Waits’ “Temptation” composed by Amherd herself) so special.
The opening “Now And From Now” is a full frontal funk attack driven by Eliane’s soulful James Brown band inspired rhythm guitar and the relentlessly ringing bell sound of vibes and guitar, bolstered by Gustavo’s dancing bassline and Dyson’s rock solid beat with Ware’s melodic vibes providing an airy complement to the tune’s tenacious tone. Eliane words, as is often the case, take on a dual meaning here. Sung with confident power, the words “now and from now on/it’s your time, it’s your time” are directed both to an entire generation as call-to-action anthem, as well as to that one special someone as a declaration of love.
“As If” is a sublimely entertaining AfroCarribean inflected travelogue – a tale of unsolicited Brasilian seduction sung with a sultry sensuality and more than a hint of sardonic wit – good naturedly reinforced by Ware’s clever quoting of the Ventures’ “Walk Don’t Run” in conjunction with Eliane’s classic American surfer song guitar intro accompanying her singing “as I put my feet into the warm sand.” The cleverly constructed lyrics (“so I go to the museum of modern art/to do some cultural stuff to play my tourist part/there comes mister intellectual/he wants to chat me up I can tell”) should be easily recognized by any attractive female traveler meeting up with the inevitable local lothario and serves as a friendly reminder to males of how tiresome they can be. Eliane balances her kittenish “little girl” vocal with a powerful guitar solo that skronks from Santana to Ribot.
The Swiss-French patois titled “Me Fe Tan Pliji” – a joyful song, sung with almost childlike appreciation of tropical delight – is an appreciation of Eliane’s native country’s beautiful river. Her guitar intro sets a countrified AfroCaribbean tone that is continued in theWest Indian inflected Calypso chorus – “I like to swim in the ocean/I like to swim in the ocean” – that gives the tune it light flowing feel. The disgruntled tone of the song’s early chorus “what I have ain’t what I want/and what I want I do not have” ultimately resolves into one of satisfaction – “now I float down the river/who thought how much fun this could be’ — with the realization of the beauty of one’s own home upon returning from a long journey abroad.
“Don’t Give Up On Me” is a beautiful R & B love song in the classic soulmold. Eliane slowly sings her beseeching words, “Don’t you give up on me/I just need a little bit more time,” with persuasive passion and emotional depth. Her wide vibrato soloing chords show a thorough assimilation of the jazz soul guitarfrom Wes Montgomery to George Benson to Earl Klugh, with just a hint of Prince.
Eliane’s “Feel A Little Sorry For Yourself” is another witty, slightly sarcastic lyric that is set over a slow Caribbean line laiddown by Eliane’s Trinidadian/Mexican inflected guitar and Ze’s easy bongo rhythm. Sung in an almost adolescent upper register tone, her words “I’m the institution to give you the absolution/to feel a little sorry for yourself,” are meant to assuage those suffering a setback to take the time to bemoan the situation – but only a little – and then get on with things.
“Where Is Home” imparts a suspenseful jazz ambience that attests to Eliane’s ability to write sophisticated lines. A song for the restless soul, it opens ominously with the guitarist’s gritty, slightly dissonant chords and Ware’s enigmatic vibes, setting the mood, which begins reminiscent of Sade’s music in its restrained sensuality, but gradually increases in dynamic intensity to where Eliane opens up full throttle to reveal the extent of her vocal power before returning to the softer sound that started the piece.
The happily cavorting “Let Me Explain” is an infectiously appealing melody that hearkens back to sound of Sergio Mendes and Brazil 66, with its classic Great American Songbook styled proclamation-of-love lyric and the easy flowing vocal harmonies. Eliane’s lead voice and overdubbed backing chorus float over Ze and Dyson’s earthy samba beat with irresistible delight.
The date’s jazzy interpretation of the Tom Waits typically noirish “Temptation” –built around Ware’s dramatic vibes — is sung in a suitably strident vocal tone over Eliane’s dissonant guitar riffing and Dyson’s complexly rhythmed drum line. The date’s only cover song, its arrangement shows that Eliane is utterly capable of imparting her own touch to the music of others, further proof of her originality.
Trust You” is a dreamy confessional narrative that builds from a whisper to a scream in a manner that is somewhat reminiscent of Peggy Lee’s reading of “Fever” in its rhythmic insistence, revealing her roots as a true jazz singer.
The pretty blues “Steady and Slow” is simultaneously melancholy and optimistic, indicative of the nature of Eliane’s music and its ultimately triumphant tone. The guitar, electric bass and vibes combination here recalls the sound of early Montgomery Brothers records. The delicately sung lead vocal is complemented by an overdubbed swing era styled backing chorus that brightens the tune’s mood.
Batucada is a hip remix of the “Now And From Now On” title track with Ze’s multitracked bateria samba school propelling Eliane’s original guitar and vocals in a dance oriented sound that both takes things back to where they started and someplace completely else.
Now And From Now On by Eliane Amherd is an utterly powerful debut, fully developed in its sound and conception in a way that few maiden voyages have ever arrived on the New York music scene before. The music’s sheer originality and appeal guarantees that audiences will be hearing plenty more of this multitalented vocalist/guitarist/songwriter from now on.
Artist Website: www.elianeperforms.com
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