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.
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.
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.
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.
Executed flawlessly and recorded with crystal clear presence, the eight tracks that make up this album present Airto at his most diverse. Vocalist Ruben Rada makes both “Meni Devol” and “La Tumbadora” come to life with falsetto forays that soar above Airto's complex and organic groundwork. Furthermore, the percussive battery is supported additionally by masters Manolo Badrena and Laudir de Oliveira (a member of the pop group Chicago at the time). As an added bonus, the late Jaco Pastorius contributes a typically fine lead voice to the dark and brooding “Nativity”.
This two-disc set by vocalist Flora Purim and percussionist Airto Moreira includes the Grammy-nominated album The Magicians and the rhythmically vibrant The Sun Is Out. The albums, originally released in 1986 and 1989 respectively, give listeners the full benefit of authentic Brazilian jazz and rhythms sung and played by two of the country's most innovative and imaginative artists. Among the favorites are "Esquinas," written by Djavan, and Purim's own "Midday Sun" – both passionate accounts of the Brazilian world and jazz styles.