The 1970s were banner years for Airto Moreira – not only because of his association with Chick Corea's Return to Forever and his work on wife Flora Purim's Milestone dates, but also, because of the generally superb work he did under Creed Taylor's supervision at CTI from 1972-74. One of the five-star gems that the Brazilian percussionist recorded for CTI was Fingers, which employs Purim on percussion and vocals, David Amaro on guitar, Hugo Fattoruso on keyboards and harmonica, Jorge Fattoruso on drums and Ringo Thielmann on electric bass. Produced by Taylor and recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's famous New Jersey studio, this LP demonstrates just how exciting and creative 1970s fusion could be. When Moreira and his colleagues blend jazz with Brazilian music, rock and funk on such cuts as "Wind Chant," "Tombo in 7/4" and "Romance of Death," the results are consistently enriching. Fingers is an album to savor.
Without a doubt, Airto put a new face on Brazilian music in the wake of the bossa nova movement, bringing back the frantic complexity of the samba translated into his own frenzied yet controlled electronic/multi-percussion idiom. Here we truly have some of the best of his early work in the U.S. as a leader for the CTI label, where Airto proves that he couldn't be suppressed even by the guiding hand of Creed Taylor. The set kicks off with a pair of great, sizzling tracks from the Free album, with Airto feverishly driving bands manned by Chick Corea on electric piano, Keith Jarrett on acoustic piano, and other American all-stars. From there, we move to the Fingers album, which features Airto's own band yet maintains virtually the same level of excitement with a deeper Brazilian streak.
Other than a couple of obscure efforts for Buddah in 1970, this was percussionist Airto's debut as a leader, and this is still his most famous record. A brass section arranged by Don Sebesky is heard on two tracks, and such all-stars as keyboardist Chick Corea, flutist Hubert Laws, the reeds of Joe Farrell, and even pianist Keith Jarrett and guitarist George Benson make worthwhile appearances. Flora Purim joins Airto in the one vocal piece ("Free"), and "Return to Forever" receives an early recording. The music combines together jazz, Brazilian music, and aspects of fusion and funk quite successfully.
The most high-profile percussionist of the 1970s and still among the most famous, Airto Moreira (often simply known by his first name) helped make percussion an essential part of many modern jazz groups; his tambourine solos can border on the amazing. Airto originally studied guitar and piano before becoming a percussionist. He played locally in Brazil, collected and studied over 120 different percussion instruments, and in 1968 moved to the U.S. with his wife, singer Flora Purim. Airto played with Miles Davis during part of 1969-1970, appearing on several records (most notably Live Evil). He worked with Lee Morgan for a bit in 1971, was an original member of Weather Report, and in 1972 was part of Chick Corea's initial version of Return to Forever with Flora Purim.
Many of Airto Moreira's records from the late 1970s and early '80s get an undeserved bad rap because of their obvious – and intended – commercial appeal. Though he came to prominence in America as a member of Miles Davis' early electric bands, Moreira was an established artist in Brazil; one who sought to marry the sounds of his nation's folk traditions with all kinds of popular music. 1979's Touching You…Touching Me was recorded during his Warner period, and is perhaps his most polished record. Self-produced, he learned much of the technique he employed from the best-selling recordings of the time in all pop genres.
Percussionist Airto Moreira, his wife, vocalist Flora Purim, and Joe Farrell (heard on flute, soprano and tenor) had teamed up several times through the years, most notably in the original version of Return To Forever. Farrell would pass away just eight months after this album, but is still heard in fine form on the interesting set.An atmospheric and at times haunting effort.
Airto Moreira was born in Itaiópolis, Brazil, into a family of folk healers, and raised in Curitiba and São Paulo. Showing an extraordinary talent for music at a young age, he became a professional musician at age 13, noticed first as a member of the samba jazz pioneers Sambalanço Trio and for his landmark recording with Hermeto Pascoal in Quarteto Novo in 1967. Shortly after, he followed his wife Flora Purim to the United States.
Although Airto Moreira was never a jazz purist, most of his work has been jazz-oriented. From his years with Chick Corea's first Return to Forever lineup to his classic CTI dates of the 1970s to his work on wife Flora Purim's albums, the Brazilian drummer/vocalist has been known for combining jazz with Brazilian music, rock, and funk. No one could ever accuse Purim's husband of being someone who is only interested in showing the world how fast he can play John Coltrane's "Giant Steps," but it is safe to say that most of Moreira's work has been jazz-oriented even though it isn't straight-ahead bop. Homeless, however, is a Moreira project that has very little to do with jazz. This diverse, highly rhythmic CD draws on everything from pop, funk, hip-hop, and Afro-Brazilian tribal chanting to club and rave music, but jazz considerations aren't a priority.
The 1970s were banner years for Airto Moreira–not only because of his association with Chick Corea's Return to Forever and his work on wife Flora Purim's Milestone dates, but also, because of the generally superb work he did under Creed Taylor's supervision at CTI from 1972-74. One of the five-star gems that the Brazilian percussionist recorded for CTI was Fingers, which employs Purim on percussion and vocals, David Amaro on guitar, Hugo Fattoruso on keyboards and harmonica, Jorge Fattoruso on drums and Ringo Thielmann on electric bass. Produced by Taylor and recorded at Rudy Van Gelder's famous New Jersey studio, this LP demonstrates just how exciting and creative 1970s fusion could be.
Using voice, drum, whistle, chimes, shakers, rattle, tambourine, and didgeridoo, Airto and company make music that comes from all regions and belongs to none. These are songs for ritual and healing, based on many cultures. The mood is ethereal, yet because of the predominance of percussion, also powerful. New age music with punch.