USE SIG FOR EMILY DARBY FINE TUNED, PLEASE.

The late baseball franchise owner Bill Veeck once said that there are only two seasons: winter and baseball. Despite the snow, Easter and the St. Louis Cardinals opened the new season with optimistic promise. Daffodil spears are popping up along my driveway. My students are writing the poetry that fills young hearts in spring. And life is beautiful.

Life is especially good when you consider the only two things that are truly poetic: baseball and music. The calm anticipation, the ripening chemistry, and the lingering moments of satisfaction only get better with age. Eliane Elias, at age 55, delivers a subtle sensuality on her latest album “Made In Brazil” that simmers with a languid passion that impatient youth cannot fathom.

Elias sets the tone with the opening track, a cover of Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil” (“Watercolor of Brazil”) by turning the originally percussive samba anthem into a swaying bossa nova invitation. What Elias lacks in vocal range and power, she maximizes with an allure of intimate breathiness that accentuates her keyboard talents.

The seductive vocal duet “Você” (“You”), with Roberto Menescal, again showcases the delicate deftness Elias has for jazz piano. The romantic lyrics, sung in both English and Portuguese, should alone awaken dormant desires, but Elias’s exquisite piano solo on this track envelops you in a warm glow.

Of course, any album with Brazilian roots must pay homage to Antônio Carlos Jobim, the creator of bossa nova. Thankfully, Elias passed on “Garota de Impanema” (“The Girl from Impanema”) and chose instead “Águas de Março” (“Waters of March”). With a luxurious orchestral arrangement, lush background vocals, and electric keyboard highlights, this celebration of “the joy in your heart” bounces with exuberant freshness. Jobim’s poetically beautiful “Este Seu Olhar” (“Your Eyes”) also appears on the album with caressing treatments on the soft brushes by Edu Ribeiro and on the acoustic bass by Marc Johnson.

Johnson, who co-produced the album and co-wrote two of its most sensual tracks with Elias — “Some Enchanted Place” and “Incendiando” — is also married to Elias. The undercurrent of attraction undeniably flows throughout the album.

The passion swells to a climax in Elias’s original composition “A Sorte do Amor” (“The Luck of Love”). On this song, Elias’s whispery voice finds a sincere strength and confidence that is matched by an equal eloquence on the piano. The background strings drift in and out like a comfortable lover in no hurry to leave but still leaving Elias’s piano room to breathe. One of the shortest tracks on the album, this one begs to be played over and over.

The album ends with another Barroso celebration of Elias’s native Brazil. “No Tabuleiro da Baiana” (“On the Baiana’s Tray”) skips through radiant sunlight, intoxicating tropics, and a convergence of cultures that the Brazilian state of Bahia is known for. Recorded in the 1930s by Carmen Miranda, the samba tune evokes a youthful lilt and ageless urge to play.

After the first pitch is tossed and the excitement of “play ball” is announced, true fans know that baseball is a long season that rewards the patient with a crescendo of pennant races. True romantics know that poetry must settle slowly and touch deeply. And music lovers should agree that Made in Brazil, 30 years after Elias’s first release, is worth the wait. Life is indeed beautiful.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.