Vocalist Flora Purim and her husband, Airto Moreira, are two of the leading lights of Brazilian latin jazz and fusion music. Over the years Purim has worked with a variety of bands, including Stan Getz's, Chick Corea's Return To Forever, her own, and of course, in conjunction with Airto. Not my cup of tea, but top-flight for the fusion world.
Flora Purim "Flora E MPM" (RCA/BMG Ariola, 1964)
(Produced by Roberto Jorge, Paulo Rocco & Dom Um Romao)
Although she became one of the great Latin jazz/fusion divas in the early '70s, this early album shows Flora Purim's Brazilian bossa roots. Whoever dug this one out for reissue scored a major coup -- this stuff is WAY different from her later jazz fusion work. Although she's playing with Brazilian jazz musicians, the material is pretty much straight up bossa nova, songs by the likes of Edu Lobo (referred to here as "Eduardo"!), Carlos Lyra, Roberto Menescal and Vinicius. Honestly, I can't say her voice is that great, but the transitional, historical nature of this record is fascinating. Among the many musicians are Paulo Moura, Rosinha de Valenca and Dom Um Romao.
Sambalanco Trio "Sambalanco Trio" (Audio Fidelity, 1964)
Airto Moreira led this jazzy early-'60s Sao Paulo trio, along with pianist Cesar Camargo Mariano and bassist Humberto Clayber they glided through more of that trademark breezy, light jazz sound that was the complimentary backdrop to the bossa nova boom. This is the first of the group's three albums, packed with many bossa standards and several of Camargo's originals, as well as "Homangem A Clifford Brown," a tribute to a North American smooth jazz player whose "Blues Walk" was a popular standard in the Braz-jazz scene. As with many of these groups, Sambalanco wasn't really on a par with most U.S. jazz bands, but they have a kitschy appeal, and have a more distinctively Brazilian flair than most. The piano work in particular deftly hints at a greater harmonic depth than actually comes through on the album. Worth checking out, particularly if you are a loungecore fan, or are interested in finding out about Airto's early roots. (Sometimes known as the "Samblues" album.)
Sambalanco Trio "Sambalanco Trio" (Som Maior, 1964)
Sambalanco Trio "Reencontro A Sambalanco Trio" (Som Maior, 1965)
Lennie Dale & Sambalanco Trio "Lennie Dale E A Sambalanco Trio" (Elenco, 1965)
Sambrasa Trio "Sambrasa Trio Em Som Maior" (Som Maior, 1966)
Airto is still apparently working with bassist Humberto Clayber on this album (he is credited on several songs), although Cesar Camargo Mariano has left the group for new ground. Hermeto Pascoal also plays on here, one of the first of his and Airto's long period of productive, innovative collaborations.
Airto Moreira Trio "Jazz-Nova" (Seven Seas, 1966)
Sansa Trio "Sansa Trio, v.2" (Som Maior, 1966)
Airto was in the second lineup of Jose Briamonte's swinging bossa-jazz trio set, showcasing Briamonte's brisk, bright piano and giddy melodies galore. A lively, cheerful record, with a relatively unhurried feel, compared to many of their bossa trio contemporaries.
Quarteto Novo "Quarteto Novo" (EMI Odeon, 1967)
An impressive late-'60s Braz-Jazz album, featuring early work by percussionist Airto Moreira, multi-instrumental madman, Hermeto Pascoal, and the politically-inclined MPB songwriter Geraldo Vandre, along with guitarists Theo De Barros and Heraldo Do Monte . The album opens with "O Ovo," a brisk update of the turn-of-the-century choro sound popularized by Pixinguinha, Dunga and other Brazilian musical pioneers. The album gradually progresses into more modern, straightforward jazz material (which isn't as much fun) and even a Luiz Gonzaga forro tune. The playing throughout is very rich, well recorded, and vastly superior to many of their more jittery jazz contemporaries, even dipping into a mellow Vince Guaraldi-style vibe. This isn't just a cool footnote into the early careers of several of Brazil's most important musicians, it's also a very enjoyable, well-performed album. Recommended!
Airto Moreira "Natural Feelings" (Buddah, 1970)
Airto Moreira "Seeds On The Ground" (Buddah, 1971)
Airto Moreira & Flora Purim "Free" (CTI, 1972)
A harmless, but rather noodly, lite-fusion album, which sheds some focus on Airto's talents as a specifically Brazilian percussionist... There are hints of samba, stray samples of berimbau and Amazonian percussion, but not a lot in the way of driving musical force. I think this was intended to be an easy-on-the-ears kind of album, with lapses into AACM-style free jazz. But really, it's mostly kinda dull. Notable fusioneers such as Chick Corea, Ron Carter, Keith Jarrett, Stanley Clarke and Hubert Laws pitch in, along with others in the CTI stable. Flora's on here, too, although mostly in the background, and not really as a featured artist.
Airto Moreira "Fingers" (CTI, 1972)
A funk-laden electric jazz set, with a stripped-down ensemble, including David Amaro on guitars, and Hugo and Jorge Fattoruso on keyboards and drums, and Flora pitching in on a tune or two. This is one of the only Airto albums I've heard that didn't really bug me... Thematically, it often sounds fairly lightweight, but when they hit the deeper grooves, things do get funky. Includes some lively latin-jazz percussion, and some nice, spacy keyboards. Certainly more vigorous than a lot of his other albums; worth checking out.
Airto Moreira & Eumir Deodato "Live" (CTI, 1973)
Live at the Felt Forum, in New York City.
Airto Moreira "Virgin Land" (1974)
Flora Purim "Butterfly Dreams" (Fantasy/Milestone, 1974)
(Produced by Orrin Keepnews)
Flora and Airto with some heavyweight players fromt eh American jazz scene: Stanley Clarke on bass, George Duke on keyboards, Joe Henderson on sax, David Amaro on guitars, with Clarke also writing or co-writing the bulk of the songs. For the most part, this album is pretty torturous -- it opens with a manic jazzy blast called "Dr. Jive," one of those woebegotten attempts by '70s fusioneers to prove to the "rock part" of their audience that they could, indeed, rock out: it's abrupt and out of place, setting listeners on edge and may make them less receptive to the material that follows. Flora's vocals are often strained, the music is amorphous and meandering; there's a nice version of Tom Jobim's "Dindi" (Purim generally seems to do better while singing in Portuguese...) but few of the other songs seem as compositionally concise or well-focussed. Definitely a record of its time, but it doesn't speak strongly to me, all these years later.
Flora Purim "Stories To Tell" (Fantasy/Milestone, 1974)
Airto Moreira "Identity" (1975)
(With Egberto Gismonti.)
Flora Purim "500 Miles High" (Fantasy/Milestone, 1976)
Airto Moreira "Promises Of The Sun" (Arista, 1976)
Flora Purim "Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly" (Fantasy/Milestone, 1976)
Flora Purim "Encounter" (Fantasy/Milestone, 1977)
Airto Moreira "I'm Fine, How Are You" (Arista, 1977)
Flora Purim "That's What She Said" (Fantasy/Milestone, 1978)
Flora Purim "Nothing Will Be As It Was... Tomorrow" (Milestone/Warner, 1977)
Flora Purim "Everyday, Everynight" (Warner, 1978)
Flora Purim "Carry On" (Warner, 1979)
Airto Moreira "Missa Espiritual: Airto's Brazilian Mass" (Harmonia Mundi, 1984)
Flora Purim/Airto Moreira/Joe Farrell "Three Way Mirror" (Reference Recordings, 1985)
Flora Purim & Airto Moreira "Humble People" (Concord, 1985)
Flora Purim & Airto Moreira "The Magicians" (Crossover/Concord, 1986)
Airto Moreira "Latino: Aqui Se Puede" (Montuno, 1986)
Flora Purim & Airto Moreira "The Sun Is Out" (Crossover/Concord, 1987)
Airto Moreira "Samba De Flora" (Montuno, 1988)
Flora Purim & Airto Moreira "The Colours Of Life" (In+Out, 1988)
Airto Moreira & The World "The Other Side Of This" (Rykodisc, 1988)
Flora Purim "Midnight Sun" (Venture/Virgin, 1988)
Airto Moreira "Struck By Lightning" (Venture, 1989)
Airto Moreira & Chick Corea "Killer Bees" (B&W, 1989)
Fourth World "Fourth World" (B&W, 1992)
Fourth World "Live At Ronnie Scott's Club" (Jazz House, 1992)
Flora Purim "Queen Of The Night" (Sound Wave, 1992)
(Also titled The Flight, and issued with a different track sequencing.)
Airto Moreira "Jump" (Westwind, 1995)
Flora Purim "Speed Of Light" (B&W, 1995)
Fourth World "Encounters Of The Fourth World" (B&W, 1995)
Fourth World "Live In South Africa" (B&W, 1996)
Fourth World "Last Journey" (MELT, 1998)
Airto Moreira/Gary Barone/David Friesen "Ancient Kings" (Shamrock, 1998)
Airto Moreira & Boris Salchak "Shaman" (B&W, 2000)
Airto Moreira "Code: Brasil - Target: Recipe" (Meltdown, 2000)
Airto Moreira "Homeless" (Meltdown/B&W, 2000)
Flora Purim "Perpetual Emotion" (Narada Jazz, 2001)
A pretty solid release, in the slick "dinner jazz" style, but performed with more conviction and oompf than most new commercial jazz albums. Mostly too smooth for my tastes, but you can tell she's better at this stuff than most. Oscar Castro Neves and Airto join in for that good old Brazilian continuity. Some of the English-language lyrics are kinda goopy and New age-ish, but when she sings in Portuguese, it sounds more natural and intriguing.
Flora Purim "Speak No Evil" (Narada Jazz, 2003)
Flora Purim "Flora Purim Sings Milton Nascimento" (Narada Jazz, 2003)
Purim pays tribute to Milton Nascimento, one of Brazil's great modern jazz legends.
Airto Moreira "Life After That" (Narada Jazz, 2003)
Flora Purim "Flora's Song" (Narada Jazz, 2005)
Miles Davis "Evil/Live" (Sony, 1970)
Miles Davis "Live At The Fillmore" (Sony, 1970)
Chick Corea's Return To Forever "Return To Forever" (ECM, 1972)
Chick Corea's Return To Forever "Light As A Feather" (Polydor, 1973)
Mickey Hart/Airto/Flora Purim "Dafos" (Reference Recordings/Rykodisc, 1985)
Mickey Hart/Airto/Flora Purim "Planet Drum" (Rykodisc, 1991)
Airto & Flora Purim "Brazilian Heatwave" (Accord, 1970)
Airto "The Best Of..." (Columbia Legacy, 1972)
Airto & Flora Purim "Wings Of Imagination" (Concord, 2001)
A 2-CD set
Airto & Flora Purim "Milestone Memories" (BGO - Beat Goes On, 1994)
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