Flora Purim (born March 6, 1942) is a Brazilian samba-jazz vocalist who debuted with an album on RCA in 1964. She is the wife of percussionist–vocalist Airto Moreira.
In 1972, the couple appeared on Chick Corea‘s album Return to Forever and stayed for the ensuing namesake band‘s Light as a Feather, recorded that same year. In 1973, Purim released her first of six albums on Milestone, which carried her through the 1970s save for three titles on Warner Bros.
Flora Purim was born in Rio de Janeiro to violinist Naum Purim and pianist Rachel Vaisberg. Though her father was a strict classical player, Flora’s mother collected American jazz records. As a teenager, Purim listened to vocalists like Dinah Washington, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra. She also grew fond of pianists like Bill Evans, Oscar Peterson, and Erroll Garner.
Purim started singing professionally during the early 1960s and released her debut album, Flora é M.P.M., on RCA in 1964. It features renditions of 12 bossa nova standards, including compositions by Menescal–Ronaldo (“A Morte de Um Deus de Sal”), Waldir Gama (“Se Fosse Com Você”), Lyra–Moraes (“Samba do Carioca”), A.Z. Idelsohn (“Hava Nagila”), and Lobo–Guerra (“Boranda”).
Weary of her country’s political situation after the 1964 military coup, she wanted to leave Brazil. In 1967, she married vocalist–percussionist Airto Moreira, who played in the samba-jazz Quarteto Novo with multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal. After the group released its self-titled album on Odeon, the couple moved to New York City.
In 1969, Purim and Moreira performed on the albums Moondreams by Walter Wanderley (CTI) and How Insensitive by Duke Pearson (Blue Note). The following year, they reunited with Pascoal on his debut solo album Hermeto. Moreira signed to Buddah and released the 1970–71 albums Natural Feelings and Seeds On the Ground, both with Flora on vocals.
In February 1972, the couple partook in sessions for Return to Forever, the fourth ECM album by keyboardist Chick Corea. Before its release that September, the same musicians — Corea, Moreira, Purim, bassist Stanley Clarke, and flutist Joe Farrell — gathered behind Moreira for his third solo album, Free, released on CTI. That fall, the lineup entered London’s I.B.C. Sound Recording Studios as an actual band, Return to Forever, and cut a second album, Light as a Feather, released in January 1973 on Polydor. All three albums wed electrified jazz sounds with Brazilian rhythmic elements.
Meanwhile, Purim and Moreira performed on the 1972 album The Happy People by the Cannonball Adderley Quintet (Capitol). In early 1973, they (along with Farrell) left Return to Forever. Moreira recorded his second CTI album, Fingers, with Flora on vocals and percussion. Purim also sang on one track (“Yours Is the Light”) on the 1973 CBS release Welcome by Santana. That December, she recorded her second solo album (first in nine years) at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.
Flora Purim released her second solo album, Butterfly Dreams, in early 1974 on Milestone.
Stories to Tell
Flora Purim released her third solo album, Stories to Tell, in late 1974 on Milestone.
500 Miles High at Montreux
In 1976, Flora Purim released the live album 500 Miles High at Montreux, recorded on July 6, 1974, at the Montreux Jazz Festival.
Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly
Flora Purim released her fourth solo studio album, Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly, on September 14, 1976, on Milestone.
Flora Purim released her fifth solo studio album, Encounter, in mid-1977 on Milestone.
Nothing Will Be as It Was…Tomorrow
Flora Purim released her sixth solo studio album, Nothing Will Be as It Was…Tomorrow, in late 1977 on Milestone and Warner Bros.
That’s What She Said
Flora Purim released her seventh solo studio album, That’s What She Said, in late 1978 on Milestone.
Flora Purim released her eighth solo studio album, Everyday, Everynight, in 1978 on Milestone and Warner Bros.
Flora Purim released her ninth solo studio album, Carry On, in 1979 on Warner Bros.
- Flora é M.P.M. (1964)
- Butterfly Dreams (1973)
- Stories to Tell (1974)
- Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly (1976)
- 500 Miles High at Montreux (1976)
- Encounter (1977)
- Nothing Will Be as It Was…Tomorrow (1977)
- Everyday, Everynight (1978)
- That’s What She Said (1978)
- Carry On (1979)
- Däfos (1983 • Mickey Hart, Airto & Flora Purim)
- Three-Way Mirror (1987 • Airto Moreira, Flora Purim & Joe Farrell)
- The Midnight Sun (1988)
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