Saturday, May 13, 2006

Album review: Flora Purim "500 Miles High"


500 Miles High~ Flora

Jazz fusion vocalist at her peak, May 13, 2006
Reviewer:
Greg A. Locascio (DeKalb, IL USA) - See all my reviews

I checked out the actual LP of this record because I'd heard Purim's vocals on one of all-time favorite fusion discs, Chick Corea's Return to Forever. 500 Miles High is a Corea track from his Return to Forever line-up's Light as a Feather double-album, which also features Airto and Purim.

So, call this Brazil via Corea, and throw in Brazilian soft pop crooner Milton Nascimento on one track, "Cravo e Canela" (Cinnamon and Cloves)." I remember Nascimento from the CD that introduced me to Tropicalia and Brazilian music in general, the David Byrne-compiled Brazil Classics: Vol. 1.

Purim is a bit of an acquired taste. I think she sounds a bit screechy in that early 70s kitschy sort of way, but she employs it well on this album, able to scat jive with the driving Latin rhythm, her voice a complement to the groove, especially on the roasting last track, "Jive Talk."

I love live albums, especially live fusion, and even more if it's Brazilian and from the early 70s. Purim's "500 Miles High" fits the bill. It also benefits from a highly percussive sound and the use of berimbaus, a uniquely Brazilian instrument (it looks like a bow and arrow) used in the Afro-Brazilian martial art, capoeira.

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