Flora Purim – Speak No Evil (2003)

FrontCover1Speak no evil is a 2003 album by the Brazilian singer Flora Purim. The name of the album is a tribute to a 1965 album and song by Wayne Shorter.

The album is a fusion of jazz, samba, and other Latin rhythms, featuring Airto Moreira, Oscar Castro Neves, and her daughter, Diana Booker.

The album reached number fifteen on the jazz album chart at Billboard magazine. (by wikipedia)

Two realities are abundantly clear from listening to this Brazilian songstress legend’s latest mix of standards and originals — she swings magnificently with great jazz company (including her husband, percussion legend Airto Moreira) and she’s far more emotionally effective singing in her native Portuguese than in her heavily accented English. Her phrasing is solid on classics like “You Go To My Head” and the samba flavored “I’ve Got You Under My Skin,” but her thick accent keeps the ears distracted somewhat from the message her heart seeks to convey. Fortunately, on these and other English language tunes by Don Grusin, Wayne Shorter and the vastly underrated L.A. keyboardist/songwriter Bill Cantos, she’s surrounded by bandmates that propel her to great heights.

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On the opener “This Magic,” that includes Moreira’s jamming with flutist Gary Meek and members of The Yellowjackets. The same crowd turns “Speak No Evil” into a similarly wild trad-jazz affair. But compare her strained vocals on those tracks with her effortless vocal magic on Brazilian classics like “Tamanco no Samba” and “O Sonho” and the distinction between mere very good and close to perfection is clear. Another gem is the samba-lite tune written by Airto and Yutaka Yokokura, “Primeira Estrela,” which rolls along on the strength of Purim’s vocal harmonies with Yutaka and Oscar Castro Neves’ beautiful acoustic guitar. To truly speak no musical evil, Purim should concentrate on mas Portugues. (by Jonathan Widran)

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Personnel:
Oscar Castro-Neves (guitar, keyboards on 04.)
Trey Henry (bass)
Gary Meek (flute, saxophone, clarinet)
Airto Moreira (drums, percussion, vocals on 07.)
Flora Purim (vocals)
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Diana Booker (vocals on 07.)
Jimmy Branly (drums on 01, percussion on 03.)
Gary Brown (bass on 05., 07. + 10.)
Bill Cantos (keyboards on 06. + 09.)
Russell Ferrante (keyboards on 01. + 03.)
Jimmy Haslip (bass on 01. + 03.)
Christian Jacob (keyboards on 02. + 08.)
Michito Sanchez (percussion on 01. + 03.)
Marcos Silva (keyboards on 05. + 10.)
Yutaka Yokokura (keyboards on 07.)

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Tracklist:
01. This Magic (Grusin/Booker) 5.06
02. You Go To My Head (Gillespie/Coots) 3.55
03. Speak No Evil (All for One) (Rubin/Shorter) 5.13
04. I’ve Got You Under My Skin (Porter) 2.52
05. Tamanco No Samba (Divo/Menezes) 5.05
06. Don’t Say A Word (Cantos) 6.29
07. Primeira Estrela (Moreira/Yokokura) 5.02
08. It Ain’t Necessarily So (I.Gershwin(G.Gershwin 5.22
09. I Feel You (Cantos) 4.38
10. O Sonho (Moon Dreams) (Gismonti) 6.40

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Flora Purim – Every Day, Every Nidht (1978)

FrontCover1Influenced by both traditional Brazilian singers and the improvisations of American jazz divas like Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan, Flora Purim was one of the most adventurous singers of the 1970s. After meeting and marrying her husband, percussionist Airto Moreira, in their native Brazil, Purim moved with him to the U.S. in the late ’60s. Though she worked with Stan Getz and pianist Duke Pearson before the decade ended, it wasn’t until joining Chick Corea, Joe Farrell, Stanley Clarke, and Moreira in the original Return to Forever in 1972 that she became well known in the States. Purim showed considerable promise on Forever classics like “500 Miles High” and “Light As a Feather” and lived up to it when she went solo with 1973’s Butterfly Dreams. Ranging from superb to passably decent, Purim’s Milestone dates of the mid- to late ’70s kept her quite visible in the jazz world. Purim’s work grew erratic and uneven in the 1980s, and she wasn’t recording as often (though she did provide one album for Virgin and three with Moreira for Concord’s Crossover label). Purim didn’t record very often in the early to mid-’90s either, but she continued to be highly regarded in Brazilian jazz circles. (by Alex Henderson)

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On this project, singer Flora Purim is backed by a large string orchestra and a countless number of top studio and jazz players, playing arrangements by Michel Colombier. Although some of the musicians are quite notable (including Michael Brecker, Randy Brecker, David Sanborn, Oscar Neves, Jaco Pastorius and even Herbie Hancock), the overall music is generally forgettable. Most of the playing sounds planned in advance, and not much spontaneity occurs, certainly not from the London Symphony Orchestra. Purim’s voice is fine, but none of the 11 songs (eight by Colombier) were destined to catch on. (by Scott Yanow)

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Personnel:
Michael Boddicker (Synthesizer, piano)
Michel Colombier (synthesizer)
Harvey Mason (drums)
Airto Moreira (drums, percussion)
Laudir de Oliveira (percussion)
Jaco Pastorius (bass)
Flora Purim (vocals)
Lee Ritenour (guitar)
David Sanborn (saxophone)
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Randy Brecker (trumpet on 01. + 05.)
Michael Brecker (saxophone on 01. + 05.)
Al Ciner (guitar on 07.)
George Duke (piano on 02. + 07., vocals on 07.)
David Foster (piano on 04.)
Jay Graydon (guitar on 02.)
Herbie Hancock (piano on 08., 09. + 11.)
Alphonso Johnson (bass on 01.)
Byron Miller (bass on 02. + 07.)
Oscar Neves (guitar on 02. + 07.)
George Sopuch (guitar on 07.)
Raul de Souza (trombone on 01. + 02.)
Chester Thompson (drums on 02. + 07.)

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Tracklist:
10 . Everyday, Everynight (Colombier/Moreira/Purim) 4.58
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2.  Samba Michel (Colombier/Moreira/Purim) 4.10
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The Hope (Colombier/Moreira/Purim) 3.40
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Five-Four (Colombier) 3.34
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Walking Away (Colombier) 4.56
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I Just Don’t Know (Colombier/Moreira/Purim)  3.59
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In Brasil (Sopuch) 3.52
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Las Olas (Pastorius) 4.22
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Blues Ballad (Colombier/Purim) 1.57
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Overture (Colombier/Neto) 2.58
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Why I’m Alone (Hancock) 4.39

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Flora Purim – Stories To Tell (1974)

FrontCover1Released in 1974, Flora’s second Milestone set “Stories To Tell” was a bona fide classic. This time the group is based around the core of Duke, Moreira, guitarist Earl Klugh and conga player King Errisson, with Miroslav Vitous, Carlos Santana, Raul De Souza, Oscar Neves and others all playing important bit parts.

The opening title track is built on an incredibly funky groove over which Purim glides around the intricately beautiful melody improvising phrases lifted from songs written for Return To Forever. Cuts such as this and ‘Silver Sword’ with its fantastic guitar solo from Santana seem to define the funky fusion side of her musical vision. Her vocalisation of McCoy Tyner’s ‘Search For Peace’ shows an artist who can really sing jazz. The Brazilian songs on the album are fantastic, arranged in a fresh way that takes them apart from the original versions. ‘Vera Cruz’ has a distinctive arrangement that lifts the parts where the tempo is taken down, while Jobim’s ‘Insensatez’ is a million miles from the soft bossa standard it had become in the 1960s. The final track is a medley of the classic ‘O Cantador’ with ‘I Just Want To Be Here’, a number developed by the musicians in the studio that reflects how at ease they felt creating the music on this album. “Stories To Tell” cemented Flora’s reputation as one of the key vocalists of the era and she continued recording for Milestone throughout the 1970s, building up a body of work that continues to stand the test of time. (by Dean Rudland)

CDBackCover1Personnel:
Ron Carter (bass)
George Duke (keyboards)
King Errisson (percussion)
Earl Klugh (guitar)
Airto Moreira (drums, percussion)
Flora Purim (vocals)
Carlos Santana (guitar)
Raul De Souza (trombone)
Miroslav Vitous (bass)

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01. Stories To Tell (Vitous/Purim/Capolla) 3.41
02. Search For Peace (Tyner/Purim) 5.53
03. Casa Forte (Lobo) 3.55
04. Insensatez (Jobim/de Moraes) 2.46
05. Mountain Train (Hood/Purim) 3.14
06. To Say Goodbye (Lodo/Hall) 4.03
07. Silver Sword (Vitous) 5.40
08. Vera Cruz (Empty Faces) (Nascimento/Hall) 4.12
09. O Cantador / I Just Want To Be Here (Purim/Duke/Errisson/Moreira/) 6.45

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