JazzTimes Magazine
Flora's Song
by Christopher Loudon | Aug 01 '05

There's a hazy grandeur, an earthy exuberance that very nearly overwhelms this ump-teenth album from Brazil's legendary songstress. But, some 40 years into her brilliant career, Purim is too assured, too keenly in tune with every inch of her rhythmic environment, to let that happen. Professionally, she has always been an astute world traveler, joyfully traversing any musical landscape she encounters while soaking up everything she can from such diverse jazz influences as Duke Pearson, Gil Evans, Stan Getz, Chick Corea, her husband and perennial playmate Airto Moreira and the Caribbean Jazz Project's Andy Narell (who, along with Moreira, George Duke and Marcos Silva, guests on this disc). Cacophonously cross-cultural yet assertively organic, Flora's Song is perhaps best-described as jazz-driven world pop (or is it pop-savvy world jazz?) Either way, from the sensual moaning at the center of the title track and jungle passion of "This Is Me" to the native, volcanic ebullience of "Forbidden Love" and techno-pop blister of "Silvia" (akin to being locked inside an august cathedral equipped with a killer sound system), it's clear the Queen of Brazilian jazz has a fever, and it's catching.

All Music Guide
Flora's Song
by Scott Yanow | Aug '05

Throughout Flora's Song, the veteran Brazilian singer Flora Purim is heard in prime form. The ten compositions fit her style well; she swings in her own fashion and puts plenty of feeling into her vocals. In addition, there are many fine solos along the way, with the standouts including Harvey Wainapel's flute solo on "Flora's Song" and the steel drums of Andy Narrell on "E Precisa Perdoar" and "Forbidden Love." Whether any of the songs eventually become standards is open to question, but they are welcome additions to Flora Purim's repertoire. This is her most rewarding recording in several years, and she sounds quite happy throughout the excellent set.

World Music Central
Flora's Song
(Narada Jazz, 70876-19349-2-2, 2005)

Blurring the lines between jazz and world music, Flora's Song proves yet again that Flora Purim is one of Brazil's finest exports. Her new album includes 10 songs, which include some of her original compositions and lyrics, as well as songs by other Brazilian and American talents.

On Flora's Song, Flora Purim's vocals are sometimes sensual and delicate. Other times, she ventures into adventurous jazz, which is nor surprising, as she was one of the pioneers of jazz fusion in the 1970s. The album contains a wide spectrum of styles. There is contemporary jazz (not to be confused with sappy smooth jazz, sometimes marketed as contemporary jazz) led by José Neto inspired electric guitar licks and a tribute to legendary bassist Jaco Pastorius. Also featured are intimate ballads, as well as funk and R&B highlighted by the participation of funk jazz master, keyboardist George Duke. But Flora Purim shines when she explores her Brazilian roots, singing in Portuguese and using spectacular samba and Afro-Cuban rhythms, as well as MPB (Brazilian Popular Music) and bossa nova influences.

Pelourinho
Flora's Song

With one of the most immediately recognizable voices in Jazz, Flora is a four-time winner of the Downbeat poll for Best Female Vocalist. Soon after coming to New York from Brazil in 1967 she began touring with Gil Evans’ Orchestra and then joined Chick Corea’s seminal jazz-rock band Return to Forever. In the mid-80’s she resumed her musical partnership with Airto and recorded two Grammy-nominated albums for Concord, Humble People and The Magicians.

Her new CD on NaradaRecords called FLORA'S SONG is vivid evidence that time has not diminished her singular allure. After nearly four decades of extraordinary performance, Flora Purim has become synonymous with Brazilian jazz — her seductive voice intertwining effortlessly with native rhythms and exotic instrumentation. This is FLORA’S SONG, an intensely personal album which showcases all the divine diva’s refinement and flair. Purim’s close connection to the music pervades all aspects of the new album, including the choice of musicians. “The musicians were chosen with the same care as one would choose a craftsman to construct the navigation instruments of a ship,” she muses. Some choices renewed old friendships – FLORA’S SONG sees the chanteuse re-team with keyboardist George Duke – while others forged new musical friendships, notably with steel drum phenom and co-founder of the Caribbean Jazz Project, Andy Narell. Visit narada.com. There you can listen to some samples and see the credits of this wonderful album, considered on of her best recordings over the last 10 years!

"Airto Moreira and Flora Purim"
Live in Moscow

The last CD in this set features Airto Moreira, Flora Purim, Jose Neto and Gary Meek. *Fourth World* the incredible quartet headed by Airto Moreira and Flora Purim. Surely no group in jazz and/or Brazilian music has ever created so much excitement with only four people.

In the late 1960's, I remember using a very quiet Brazilian newcomer when the older New York Latin percussionists were not available for a studio recording session.

When Keith Jarrett, who I was managing as well as producing on records at the time, chose Airto to play on a double LP, I was unprepared for the full blown virtuosity which broke loose from this hitherto shy young man. Even so, I had a new surprise when we renewed our friendship on stage in Moscow.

I had heard Fourth World in New York, I had heard Airto improvise alone. But in Moscow he gave a solo performance not on his battery of percussion instruments, many of which he makes it himself, but on nothing more than a simple tambourine augmented by his voice in more ways than I had heard before. If I had not seen this performance, I would not have believed that even Airto could produce so many sounds without additional instruments.

Miracles are hidden in his fingers, fist and the heel of his palm. Enough said. His improvisation #1 is a landmark.

Fourth World closes this CD with a typically rousing performance. 'Lua Flora' finds the group in full cry in a composition which could have come from anywhere in the Balkans to the Middle East and points in between, including, as a matter of fact, Brazil.

It boils and sizzles and then explodes with an impassioned vocal by the incomparable Flora Purim. How did Flora surpass even herself in this performance? Her heart-wrenching thank-you at the end says it all.

Hers were not the only eyes filled with tears of joy that night.

George Avakian

 

Jazz Review
Flora Purim - Queen of Brazilian Jazz
Artist Interview by: Beatrice S. Richardson

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