Flora Purim – Flora e M.P.M (1964)

FrontCover1Flora Purim (born March 6, 1942) is a Brazilian jazz singer known primarily for her work in the jazz fusion style. She became prominent for her part in Return to Forever with Chick Corea and Stanley Clarke. She has recorded and performed with numerous artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Gil Evans, Opa, Stan Getz, George Duke, Mickey Hart of the Grateful Dead, Santana, Jaco Pastorius, and her husband Airto Moreira.

In 2002, Purim was the recipient of one of Brazil’s highest awards, the 2002 Ordem do Rio Branco for Lifetime Achievement. She has been called “The Queen of Brazilian Jazz”.

Purim was born in Rio de Janeiro to Jewish parents who were classical musicians. Her father Naum Purim played violin and her mother Rachel Vaisberg was a pianist.

When her father was out of the house, her mother played jazz.

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She would bring home those 78 vinyl RPMs and when my father was at work, she would play them. That was how I got exposed to jazz music… basically listening to Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra. But also a lot of piano players, such as Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson and Erroll Garner, those were my mother’s favorites.

Purim began her career in Brazil during the early 1960s. During this period, she made a recording, entitled Flora e M.P.M., in which she sang bossa nova standards of the day by Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal. Later in the 1960s, Purim was lead singer for the Quarteto Novo, led by Hermeto Pascoal and Airto Moreira.

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After reaching young adulthood, Purim mixed jazz with radical protest songs to defy the repressive Brazilian government of that time. A 1964 military coup in Brazil led to censorship of song lyrics, and she later commented on this period of her life as follows: “I wanted to leave Brazil. There’s a river there called the San Francisco River. I used to sing to the river, that, as it flowed out to the ocean, it would take me to America.”

Shortly before leaving Brazil, Purim and Airto Moreira married. (wikipedia)

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In jazz circles, Flora Purim is best known for her fusion recordings of the ’70s — not only her work with the first edition of Chick Corea’s Return to Forever, but also classic solo albums like Butterfly Dreams and Stories to Tell. However, Purim actually started recording in the ’60s. This fascinating album, which RCA put out in Brazil in the early ’00s, takes listeners back to the singer’s early period. The material was recorded in 1964, when Purim was only 22 and was still eight years away from joining Return to Forever. At the time, the bossa nova craze was in full bloom in both the United States and Europe — Stan Getz’s work with Astrud and João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim was doing well on the pop charts, which is impressive when you consider that jazz had lost so much ground commercially after World War II.

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But Flora é M.P.M. is hardly a carbon copy of the bossa nova that Getz, Jobim, and the Gilbertos were providing at the time. In 1964, Purim had her own thing going — she didn’t feel the need to emulate Astrud Gilberto or anyone else. The Brazilian jazz and pop (all of it in Portuguese) that one hears on this album has a variety of influences, and they range from Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald to some of the post-bop that was coming out in 1964. Turning her attention to songs by Edú Lobo, Vinícius de Moraes, and other Brazilian composers, the young Purim shows considerable promise. Nonetheless, Purim still had some growing and developing to do in 1964, and her most essential work came in the ’70s. Flora é M.P.M. is primarily for the singer’s hardcore fans, who will no doubt be fascinated by these early recordings. (by Alex Henderson)

In other words: What a wonderful album !

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Personnel:
Jorge Arena (percussion)
Ruben Bacine (percussion)
Orlando Silva de Oliveira “Cipó “Costa (saxophone)
Hamilton Pereira Da Cruz (trumpet)
Sandoval Dias (saxophone)
Aurino Ferreira (saxophone)
Manuel Gusmao (bass)
Airton Lima (bassoon)
Antônio Macaxeira (trombone)
Osmar Milito (piano)
João Theodoro Meirelles (saxophone)
Paulo Moura (saxophone, clarinet)
Pedro Silveira Neto (saxophone)
Antônio Norato (trombone)
Pala (trombone)
Pedro Paulo (trumpet)
José Luís “Formiga” Pinto (trumpet)
Flora Purim (vocals)
Dom Um Romao (drums)
Dom Salvador (piano)
Jorge Ferreira da Silva (flute)
Raul De Souza (trombone)
Rosinha de Valença (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. A Morte De Um Deus De Sal (Menescal/Boscoli) 3.34
02. Cartao De Visita (Lyra/de Moraes) 2.49
03. Sabe Voce (Lyra/de Moraes) 3.01
04. Definitivamente (Lobo) 1.31
05. Se Fosse Com Voce (Gama) 2.32
06. Maria Moita (Lyra/de Moraes) 2.35
07. Hava Nagila (Idelsohn) 2.19
08. Reza (Lobo/Guerra) 2.26
09. Samba Do Carioca (Lyra/de Moraes)  2.07
10. Primavera (Lyra/de Moraes) 1.50
11. Boranda (Lobo/Guerra) 2.33
12. Nem O Mar Sabia (Menescal/Boscoli) 2.17

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Paul Simon – Still Crazy After All These Years (1975)

FrontCover1Paul Frederic Simon (born October 13, 1941) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, actor and producer. Simon’s musical career has spanned over six decades. He is widely regarded as one of the best songwriters in popular music history.

Simon formed the duo Simon & Garfunkel with his schoolfriend Art Garfunkel in 1956. They released five studio albums and became one of the most acclaimed groups of the 1960s. Simon composed nearly all of their songs, including “The Sound of Silence”, “Mrs. Robinson”, “America”, “Bridge over Troubled Water”, and “The Boxer”.

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After Simon & Garfunkel split in 1970, Simon recorded three acclaimed albums over the following five years, all of which charted in the top 5 on the Billboard 200. His 1972 self-titled album contained the hit songs “Mother and Child Reunion” and “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard”. The 1975 album Still Crazy After All These Years, which featured guest vocals from Garfunkel, was his first number-one solo album, and featured the number 1 hit single “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”, among other top-40 songs such as “Still Crazy After All These Years”, “Gone at Last”, and “My Little Town”.

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Simon reunited with Garfunkel for a performance in New York Central Park in 1981, drawing half a million spectators, followed by a world tour with Garfunkel. After a career slump, Simon released Graceland, an album inspired by South African township music, which sold 14 million copies worldwide and remains his most popular and acclaimed solo work. A number of hit singles were released from the album, including “You Can Call Me Al”, “The Boy in the Bubble”, and “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes”. It won the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 1987.

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Simon continued to tour throughout the 1990s, wrote a Broadway musical, The Capeman, and recorded a companion album, Songs from The Capeman which was released in 1997. His 2000 album You’re the One was nominated again for Album of the Year honors. He followed that album up with several years of touring, including another reunion tour with Garfunkel, and released Surprise, his last album of the decade, in 2006. In 2016 he released Stranger to Stranger, which debuted at number 3 on the Billboard Album Chart and number 1 the UK Albums Chart, and marked his greatest commercial and critical success in thirty years. His most recent album is 2018’s In the Blue Light, which contains re-arrangements of lesser-known songs from his prior albums.

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Simon has earned sixteen Grammy Awards for his solo and collaborative work, including three for Album of the Year (Bridge Over Troubled Water, Still Crazy After All These Years, and Graceland), and a Lifetime Achievement Award. He is a two-time inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: first in 1990 as a member of Simon & Garfunkel and again in 2001 for his solo career. In 2006 he was selected as one of the “100 People Who Shaped the World” by Time. In 2011, Rolling Stone named Simon one of the 100 greatest guitarists, and in 2015 he was ranked eighth in their list of the 100 Greatest Songwriters of All Time.[8imon was the first recipient of the Library of Congress’s Gershwin Prize for Popular Song in 2007.

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Still Crazy After All These Years is the fourth solo studio album by Paul Simon. Recorded and released in 1975, the album produced four U.S. Top 40 hits: “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover” (#1), “Gone at Last” (#23), “My Little Town” (#9, credited to Simon & Garfunkel), and the title track (#40). It won two Grammy Awards for Album of the Year and Best Male Pop Vocal Performance in 1976.

“My Little Town” reunited Simon with former partner Art Garfunkel for the first time since 1970, while “Gone at Last” was a duet between Simon and Phoebe Snow. Several tracks featured members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section as a backing band.

The title track has been recorded by Rosemary Clooney (on her 1993 album Still on the Road), Ray Charles (on his 1993 album My World), Karen Carpenter (on her self-titled solo album released posthumously in 1996), and Willie Nelson (on the soundtrack of the 2000 motion picture Space Cowboys). (wikipedia)

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The third new studio album of Paul Simon’s post-Simon & Garfunkel career was a musical and lyrical change of pace from his first two, Paul Simon and There Goes Rhymin’ Simon. Where Simon had taken an eclectic approach before, delving into a variety of musical styles and recording all over the world, Still Crazy found him working for the most part with a group of jazz-pop New York session players, though he did do a couple of tracks (“My Little Town” and “Still Crazy After All These Years”) with the Muscle Shoals rhythm section that had appeared on Rhymin’ Simon and another (“Gone at Last”) returned to the gospel style of earlier songs like “Loves Me Like a Rock.” Of course, “My Little Town” also marked a return to working with Art Garfunkel, and another Top Ten entry for S&G.

The labels from the German edition (REO):
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But the overall feel of Still Crazy was of a jazzy style subtly augmented with strings and horns. Perhaps more striking, however, was Simon’s lyrical approach. Where Rhymin’ Simon was the work of a confident family man, Still Crazy came off as a post-divorce album, its songs reeking of smug self-satisfaction and romantic disillusionment. At their best, such sentiments were undercut by humor and made palatable by musical hooks, as on “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover,” which became the biggest solo hit of Simon’s career. But elsewhere, as on “Have a Good Time,” the singer’s cynicism seemed unearned. Still, as out of sorts as Simon may have been, he was never more in tune with his audience: Still Crazy topped the charts, spawned four Top 40 hits, and won Grammys for Song of the Year and Best Vocal Performance. (by William Ruhlmann)

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Personnel:
Kenneth Ascher (organ on 04., piano on 03.)
Joe Beck (guitar on 03., 08. + 09.)
Barry Beckett (piano on 01. + 02.)
Michael Brecker (saxophone on 01. + 07.)
Pete Carr (guitar on 02.)
Eddie Daniels (saxophone on 07.)
Gordon Edwards (bass on 06.)
Jerry Friedman (guitar on 03.)
Steve Gadd (drums on 03., 04., 07., 08. – 10.)
Art Garfunkel vocals on 02.)
Roger Hawkins (drums on 01. + 02.)
David Hood (bass on 01. + 02.)
Bob James (piano on 07, + 08.)
Tony Levin (bass on 03. – 05, 07. – 10.)
Ralph MacDonald (percussion on 02., 03., 04., 06. + 08.)
Hugh McCracken (guitar on 04., 07. – 09.)
Leon Pendarvis (piano on 10.)
David Sanborn (saxophone on 07.)
Richard Tee (piano on 06.)
Paul Simon (vocals, guitar)
Sivuca (accordion, vocals on 03.)
Phoebe Snow (vocals on 06.)
Grady Tate (drums on 06.)
Toots Thielemans (harmonica on 05.)
John Tropea (guitar on 04.)
Phil Woods (saxophone on 08.)
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background vocals:
Patti Austin – Phoebe Snow – Valerie Simpson 
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Tracklist:
01. Still Crazy After All These Years 3.27
02. My Little Town 3.52
03. I Do It For Your Love 3.35
04. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover 3.37
05. Night Game 2.58
06. Gone At Last 3.41
07. Some Folks’ Lives Roll Easy 3.14
08. Have A Good Time 3.26
09. You’re Kind 3.20
10. Silent Eyes 4.05
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11. Slip Slidin’ Away (demo version) 5.29
12. Gone At Last (original demo version w/ The Jessy Dixon Singers) 4.39

All songs written by Paul Simon

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