The latest album by Eliane Elias is a dream come true for the Brazilian jazz artist, as she’s joined by late legend Chick Corea and renowned Cuban pianist Chucho Valdés on Mirror Mirror.
Featuring a series of duets with Corea and Valdés, it’s the Grammy-winning pianist, singer and composer’s first piano-only record since her 1995 record Solos and Duets with Herbie Hancock.
The recording sessions took place at Yamaha’s Artist Services in Manhattan with Corea and Brooklyn’s Bunker Studios with Valdés. Co-produced by Elias, Marc Johnson and Steve Rodby, Mirror Mirror features four tracks with Corea and three with Valdés.
The collaborations alternate between the two, but the story behind the album unfolds in two distinct periods.
Elias first met Corea in 1978 in Brazil, and he became one of her primary influences. They met on occasion throughout their careers, and they often talked about playing or recording together. When the opportunity finally presented itself, all they had to do was pick out the songs.
“Despite him being a generation older, our influences were similar: Bud Powell, Bill Evans… in fact, we had both done tributes to Evans,” says Elias. “We also played with many of the same bassists and drummers and, of course, both were rooted in classical training. He played Mozart and Scarlatti, I played Bach and Ravel. Those shared influences poured out as we played and one can feel our affinities through the inventiveness of the rhythms and harmonies, how we felt time with each other and how we treated the songs.”
When Corea passed away unexpectedly in February of 2021, Eliane was devastated. While focusing deeply on the mixing process of her four recordings with Corea, she was reminded of the effortless communication and chemistry the pair had experienced throughout their sessions.
To complete the album, Elias contemplated who she would record with — and Valdés, another master musician of his own right, quickly came to mind. Elias and Valdés had also run into each other at festivals and other venues over the years, finding a common admiration for each other’s playing. Before they started the recording sessions for Mirror Mirror, they briefly met in Miami to go over their song choices.
“The give and take, the way I accompanied him and he accompanied me, and how we answered each other, reflects how completely connected we were,” Elias says.
“The title Mirror Mirror wasn’t chosen simply because it was one of the songs Chick and I recorded,” she continues. “It was all about the two pianos facing each other like a beautiful mirror image, and how in each duet we reflected each other’s thoughts and ideas back and forth. To me, the piano is an extension of my body, heart and soul and is at the centre of everything I do. I will always be proud and grateful for the opportunity to have registered these special musical encounters with these two master musicians.”
Here’s the track listing:
- Armando’s Rhumba (with Chick Corea)
- Esta Tarde Vi Llover (with Chucho Valdés)
- Blue Bossa (with Chick Corea)
- Corazon Partiío (with Chucho Valdés)
- Mirror Mirror (with Chick Corea)
- Sabor a Mi (with Chucho Valdés)
- There Will Never Be Another You (with Chick Corea)
Mirror Mirror arrives Sept. 10 via Candid Records. Pre-order here.