Flora PurimBrazilian Jazz Siren
Expanding the boundaries of Brazilian jazz, post-Tropicalia.
Because her early '70s work with Chick Corea's Return To Forever project branded her with the dread "jazz fusion" label, Flora Purim doesn't have the hipster cachet of the Tropicalistas or the bossa nova babes. The hipsters' loss, because not only is Purim a technically-gifted singer with a remarkable six-octave vocal range, she's one of the most emotionally expressive singers in Brazilian jazz. The daughter of classical musicians, Purim began performing during the bossa nova explosion of the early '60s. Her debut album, 1964's Flora e MPM, is representative of its time and place, but following that year's right-wing military coup, Purim began chafing under government restrictions and censorship. In 1967, Purim and her new husband, renowned percussionist/composer Airto Moreira, emigrated to New York City, placing them in the center of the emerging progressive jazz scene (including dates with the likes of Stan Getz and Gil Evans) at the dawn of what would eventually be dubbed fusion. In 1972, Flora and Airto joined former Miles Davis keyboardist Corea's new electric project Return To Forever, with whom they recorded two fanatically-received albums before Purim decided to restart her solo career. From 1973's Butterfly Dreams to 1979's Carry On, Purim released nine albums' worth of good-to-great Brazilian jazz laced with rock and R&B textures. Outside of a string of duo releases with Moreira in the latter half of the '80s, Purim has since maintained a part-time schedule at best, although 2003's back-to-basics Speak No Evil revealed that she remained in excellent voice.