So Far So Close is the fourth studio album by Brazilian jazz artist Eliane Elias. This album is great. It is mainly straight ahead jazz with touches of fusion due to the use of synthesizers along with her fantastic piano playing. Like most of her earlier albums her signing is minimal and mainly adds another musical sound more than anything else. Surprisingly, this album has barely a hint of Latin or Brazilian flavor.
This release is a change of pace for Eliane Elias. Instead of interpreting Brazilian songs, fusion, or modern bop, Elias shows off her classical technique on a set of acoustic solos plus six duets with Herbie Hancock. She really digs into the standards (sometimes sounding a little like Keith Jarrett) and creates some fairly free and unexpected ideas while putting the accent on lyricism. Some of the music is introspective, and there are wandering sections, but the net results are logical and enjoyable. As for the duets, Elias and Hancock mostly stay out of each other's way, which is an accomplishment when one considers that the four-part "Messages" is a series of free improvisations. There are playful spots (particularly on the adventurous ten-minute rendition of "The Way You Look Tonight") and, since Elias knows Hancock's style well (and was clearly thrilled to have him on the date), their collaborations work quite well.
The Animals' Christmas is the sixth solo studio album and the first Christmas album by vocalist Art Garfunkel, released in December 1985 by Columbia Records. The album was written by Jimmy Webb and features vocals by Garfunkel, Amy Grant, and Wimbledon King's College Choir. The Animals' Christmas tells the story of the Nativity of Jesus from the perspective of the animals present. The album received positive reviews, with one writer calling it "one of the best Christmas albums of the '80s."
This CD is a real anomaly: a recording of Latin American music for voice and eight cellos that does NOT include Villa-Lobos' Bachianas Brasilieras No. 5! The repertoire presented here is so rich that the Villa-Lobos isn't even missed (and for fans who crave hearing Conjunto Ibérico perform it, the group has recorded it for Channel Classics). All of the pieces are expertly arranged for cello octet by Conjunto Ibérico's conductor Elias Arizcuren and Pablo Escande.