Bassist Marc Johnson is perhaps best remembered as the last bassist for pianist Bill Evans from 1978 to his death in 1980. Here on Shades of Jade, Johnson’s third album for ECM, the bassist pays tribute to another great Evans band and bassist Scott LaFaro… The music here has the same kind of quiet intensity as its touchstone even if the group is larger – guitarist John Scofield, saxophonist Joe Lovano, pianist Eliane Elias and drummer Joey Baron round out the line-up. Johnson and Elias handle the composition responsibilities, both together and separately, and Elias’s playing really shines as she provides prodding accompaniment. … A wonderful expansion of Evans’s lyrical trio concept, Shades of Jade accomplishes everything Johnson could have hoped for.
Tad Hendrickson, Jazz Week
This lyrical exercise in small-band jazz features the kind of elegant, understated band you’d want to play if you were facing a firing squad who all happened to be jazz fans. Joe Lovano, vaporous as smoke and melodically wayward, is the saxophonist; John Scofield is on guitar; one-time Bill Evans bassist Marc Johnson and audacious drummer Joey Baron make up the rhythm section; and a fluidly imaginative Eliane Elias is on piano. Johnson and Elias wrote all the pieces, with Ton Sur Ton a standout for its lovely melody line and sly guitar harmonies. … Brazilian Eliane Elias, a photogenic samba singer whom the industry has tried to turn into a new Astrud Gilberto, proves what a class act she really is as a creative, somewhat Jarrett-like pianist.
John Fordham, The Guardian
ECM might be seen as the repository of all things northern, European and cool, but that conveniently omits the point that they happen to still produce some of the best American jazz records too. Johnson’s excellent record is fine evidence of same. This is impeccable New York jazz of the present day, a crack team of stalwarts distilling rather than going through their everyday professionalism.
John Truitt, Jazz Review
Sometimes you don’t need heroics, just a group who sound as if they have always played together. … Johnson has an A-list cast – Eliane Elias on piano, John Scofield, guitar, the saxophonist Joe Lovano, and the drummer Joey Baron. They swing through Blue Nefertiti, bust mostly moods are low-key and ruminative. Elias, the co-writer with Johnson of many of these ballads and blues, adds lyrical grace. … While this set may look on paper like a star blowing session, it sounds like intricate, intimate chamber jazz.
John Bungey, The Times
Zentrum ist das Trio mit Johnson, Eliane Elias am Piano und dem fliegenden, Räume aufreißenden Schlagzeug von Joey Baron. Elias ist Brasilianerin, eine warme, bewohnbaren Harmonien zugeneigte, in ihren solistischen Linien singende Musikerin... Sie ist neben Johnson auch wichtigste Komponistin der CD, meist von dunkel schimmernden Balladen. Dazu kommen in fünf Stücken die Schwergewichte John Scofield und Joe Lovano, sorgfältig auf die Zwischenräume bedacht der eine, von unvergleichlich brüchiger melodischer Delikatesse der andere. ... Für zwei Stücke... verlässt man den Salon des Feinsinns und der kostbaren Gefühle und erinnert sich an Handfesteres, in „Blue Nefertiti“, einem Blues um drei Ecken, und in „Raise“, einem saftigen Orgel-Walzer. Die rechte Mischung. Damit das Ganze nicht zu schön wird, um wahr zu sein.
Peter Rüedi, Weltwoche