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Flora Purim

Idioma disponible: inglés
Vocalist and composer Flora Purim is a world-class jazz singer from Brazil who possesses an uncommon six-octave range. Her performance style melds fluid phrasing, slippery jazz harmonics, and syncopation with Brazilian rhythms and folk and pop forms. She has won Downbeat's Best Female Jazz Vocalist critics' poll four times. After emigrating to America in 1966, she began working professionally with Stan Getz and Duke Pearson. With her husband, percussionist Airto Moreira, she joined pianist Chick Corea's original incarnation of Return to Forever. Their second album, 1972's Light as a Feather (whose title track features lyrics by Purim), is a fusion-era classic. Her Milestone debut, 1973's Butterfly Dreams, was her first of eight consecutive charting solo albums. Purim was a ubiquitous collaborator with Airto, but also played stints with George Duke and Carlos Santana. During the '80s, she sang on Grammy-winning albums by Mickey Hart and Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra, and played live with both. She released the celebrated Midnight Sun in 1988. During the '90s Purim and Moreira formed the world-jazz project Fourth World; they released five albums including the acclaimed Encounters in the Fourth World. In the 21st century Purim issued four solo records for Narada including Perpetual Emotion (2000). At age 80, after a 15-year break, she returned to recording with If You Will for Strut. Purim was born in Rio de Janiero to Jewish emigres from Ukraine and Russia who were both classical musicians. Her father Naum Purim was a violinist, while her mother Rachel Vaisberg was a pianist who also enjoyed listening to and playing jazz. Her sister Yana is also a globally respected vocalist and composer. Flora's initial exposure to jazz came from her mother's record collection, which included vocalists such as Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra, and pianists like Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, and Erroll Garner. Flora was deeply drawn to Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan. Purim learned to play guitar and piano as a teen and took vocal lessons. She began her professional career during the early '60s in the clubs of Rio and Sao Paulo. Her 1964 debut album, Flora e M.P.M., was released by the Victor label and offered bossa nova standards by Carlos Lyra and Roberto Menescal. She fell in with Quarteto Novo, a group of younger, firebrand musicians who included Hermeto Pascoal and Purim's future husband Moreira. Shortly after the release of her album, a military coup at home led to censorship. She and Moreira were married in 1966 and left Brazil for the U.S. She enrolled briefly in the drama program at UCLA and while in Los Angeles met Brazilian composer and arranger Moacir Santos. He taught her to read and write ensemble music. In 1967, she and Airto moved to New York where they joined a cast of players interested in making jazz electric. By 1968, they were touring with Stan Getz, Duke Pearson, and Gil Evans. Purim credits Evans with teaching the couple advanced concepts of jazz harmony and improvisation. In 1969 the couple appeared on Walter Wanderley's A&M record Moonbeams and Duke Pearson's How Insensitive for Blue Note. The pianist invited the pair to join his live band. Airto began working with Miles Davis, and with Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter in founding Weather Report. The following year, the couple played on Hermeto, Pascoal's U.S. debut for Cobblestone. In 1971, Purim collaborated with Airto on his first two solo albums, 1970's Natural Feelings, and 1971's Seeds on the Ground. She gave birth to a daughter, Diana (also a professional singer) and was later arrested for cocaine possession and eventually imprisoned. The pair met pianist Chick Corea while touring with Getz. They accepted his invitation in late 1971 to form a band that combined electric jazz, advanced improvisation, and Brazilian and Latin rhythms. The original lineup of Return to Forever also included bassist Stanley Clarke and saxist/flutist Joe Farrell. They issued two albums in 1972, a self-titled, well-reviewed effort for ECM, and the now classic Light as a Feather for Polydor. Purim wrote the lyrics for the iconic title track in a car outside Baker's Keyboard Lounge in Detroit before a gig. The latter album also contained "500 Miles High," that has since become her signature tune. She was arrested for cocaine possession that year and appeared on Santana's Caravanserai, Cannonball Adderley's The Happy People, and Airto's groundbreaking Free. Purim signed a multi-album deal with Milestone in early 1973. Her debut, Butterfly Dreams, appeared that year to universal critical acclaim. Produced by Orrin Keepnews, the sessions also included keyboardist George Duke and saxophonist Joe Henderson. It established Purim as a first-rate soloist. That same year she played on Santana's Welcome with a stellar cast that included pianist Alice Coltrane. From May to July 1974, she recorded Stories to Tell. The band, assembled by Airto, included Duke, guitarists Santana, Oscar Castro-Neves, and Earl Klugh, a star-studded horn section, and bassists Ron Carter and Miroslav Vitous. She also contributed vocals to Duke's albums Feel and I Love the Blues, She Heard My Cry (the latter issued in 1975), Pearson's It Could Only Happen with You, Santana's Borboletta, and Virgin Land and Identity by Airto. That August, Purim was sentenced to 18 months at the Federal Correctional Institution, Terminal Island in Los Angeles, California for her 1971 narcotics violation. The release of her second Milestone album, Stories to Tell, was pushed to February of 1975. The arrest and incarceration only served to bolster Purim's reputation among jazz fans. The latter album placed in the bottom half of the Top 200 and inside the Top 20 on the jazz albums chart. On March 3, 1976, shortly before her release from prison, Purim organized an all-star jazz concert inside the facility. She received permission to bring in a host of top-flight musicians who included Adderley, Duke, Vitous, Raul de Souza, Leon Ndugu Chancler, and Airto. After her release in May 1976, Purim dove into session and touring work. She appeared on albums by Adderley and bassist Alphonso Johnson. In September, she released the newly recorded studio album Open Your Eyes You Can Fly, which reached 59 in the Top 200 (quite a feat for a jazz vocal album), as well as the live 500 Miles High from a 1974 Montreux Jazz Festival concert. Issued in October, it too placed in the Top 200. Purim wasn't through yet, though: she and Airto also joined the Uruguayan band Opa for their Magic Time album. After successful American, European, and Brazilian tours, Purim returned directly to the recording studio. She released two charting albums for Milestone in 1977: Nothing Will Be as It Was...Tomorrow in April, and Encounter in September. The former was co-produced by Chancler, Purim, and Airto, its horns and strings were arranged and conducted by Jerry Peters; its roster included an all-star lineup of American and Brazilian session aces including Hugo Fattoruso, Reggie Lucas, Fred Jackson, and Patrice Rushen. Encounter, whose sessions immediately followed those of Open Your Eyes You Can Fly the previous year, offered a wider cast that included McCoy Tyner, Pascoal, Joe Henderson, and vocalist Urszula Dudziak. It was her final outing for the label. Purim signed to Warner Bros. and issued the Duke-produced That's What She Said for the label. She followed it with 1978's Everyday Everynight. Co-produced by Airto and Bob Monaco, the set offered several originals and a studio cast that included the Brecker Brothers, David Sanborn, Herbie Hancock, and Jaco Pastorius. She followed it with Carry On in 1979. Co-produced by Duke and Stanley Clarke, the ten-song set leaned heavily in the direction of jazz-funk and Brazilian disco. Despite solid critical notice, the album didn't chart. That same year, Purim guested on Michael Franks' smash hit, Tiger in the Rain. Between 1980 and 1983, Purim spent most of her time on the road and doing session work. She sang on "L.A. Samba" on Corea's Tap Step, Gil Evans' When Flamingos Fly, Duke's A Brazilian Love Affair, and Joe Sample's Voices in the Rain. In 1983, she and Airto collaborated with Grateful Dead drummer/percussionist Mickey Hart on the co-billed Däfos. She produced Airto's obscure classic Latino/Aqui Se Puede in 1984 and sang on Azymuth's Flame the same year. In 1985, the couple cut Humble People for Concord and recorded and released Three-Way Mirror with saxophonist (and former Return to Forever bandmate) Joe Farrell for Reference Recordings. In 1986, Purim and Airto re-teamed for The Magicians on Crossover. The following year, The Colours of Life appeared on In + Out and The Sun Is Out on Crossover. Purim signed a deal with Virgin's fledgling Venture label for 1988's criminally underrated Midnight Sun. Produced by Duke, the set collected a number of fresh originals, a compelling redo of "Light as a Feather," and tunes by Milton Nascimento, Lionel Hampton, and Egberto Gismonti. Despite fine production, excellent song choices, and abundant musical firepower, the album failed to chart. She joined Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra for the widely acclaimed, Grammy-nominated Live at the Royal Festival Hall 1989 as well as the CTI Allstars for Rhythmstick. In 1991 she appeared on the Grammy-winning Hart album Planet Drum. Purim issued the obscure Queen of the Night for Sound Wave Records in 1992. That year, she and Airto formed world jazz fusion ensemble Fourth World and released Live at Ronnie Scott's. The widely acclaimed Encounters of the Fourth World appeared the following year. She followed it with The Flight in 1994 and Speed of Light in 1995, both for B&W Music. She also appeared on the unofficially released Strangers in Paradise by Dizzy Gillespie's United Nation Orchestra. In 1999, Purim signed a multi-album deal with EMI's Narada imprint. Her 2000 label debut, Flora Purim Sings Milton Nascimento, reached the Top 20 on the world music charts. She followed it in 2001 with the Dom Camardella-produced Perpetual Emotion. Inarguably one of her finest outings, the set included tunes by Antonio Carlos Jobim, George Gershwin, Kurt Weill, and a re-recording of Corea's "Crystal Silence." She followed in 2003 with Speak No Evil. Titled for the Wayne Shorter composition she covered, the set also boasted tunes by Don Grusin, Cole Porter, the Gershwins, and others. It peaked at number 15 on the jazz album charts. Flora's Song marked her final date for Narada in 2005. Co-produced by Purim, Airto, and Camardella, the studio band included Duke, Purim's daughter Diana Booker, and son-in-law, composer, arranger, and percussionist Krishna Booker (son of bassist Walter Booker), Dori Caymmi, Mark Egan, and more. The stellar tune selection included originals and covers penned by Ivan Lins, Pastorius, Toninho Horta, and others. Though Airto and Flora issued archival live recordings -- including 2012'S Live in Berkeley from a 1990 concert, she continued to sing sporadically on her husband's recordings and play occasional sessions that included Dubble D's Switch 12" and Lawson Rollins' Infinita. She didn't cut a record under her own name for more than 15 years. In April 2022, six weeks after her 80th birthday, Purim released If You Will for the U.K.'s internationally distributed independent Strut label. Claiming it was her final release, it was recorded in Curitiba and Sao Paulo, (she and Airto had returned to live in Brazil in 2012). The process began in 2019 after Italian DJ/producer Roberta Cutolo (Lucky Cloud Sound System) caught the couple in performance at Gilles Peterson's 2019 Worldwide Festival in France. Though Purim considered her recording career finished, Cutolo relentlessly persisted until she agreed to record and release one more album. Sessions took place on the internet during the COVID-19 pandemic. Purim and Cutolo employed a close cadre of musicians from Purim's wide circle, including Airto, Fourth World guitarist Jose Neto, Diana and Krishna, percussionist Celso Alberti, and several others. The material was drawn from across her career and offered new arrangements of key milestones, including the Duke-penned title track and Corea's "500 Miles High."
© Thom Jurek /TiVo
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