World & Latin

Purim Emerges


Just a few years after moving to the U.S. in the late '60s, Brazilian vocalist Flora Purim joined the original lineup of Return To Forever with keyboardist Chick Corea, saxophonist Joe Farrell, bassist Stanley Clarke and drummer/percussionist/husband Airto Moreira. That gig segued into a solo career with the 1973 release of Butterfly Dreams, an eight-song set on Milestone that features Clarke and Moreira, along with flutist/saxophonist Joe Henderson, keyboardist George Duke, guitarist David Amaro and zitherist (if there is such a word) Ernie Hood.

Produced by Orrin Keepnews, Butterfly Dreams was reissued in 2007 as part of Concord's Keepnews Collection. As one might expect from the familiar faces in the supporting cast, the release sounds a lot like early RTF, especially since Clarke contributes a number of original compositions and/or arrangements to the set. Still, Purim stakes out sufficient territory as a solo artist thanks to gorgeous delivery from start to finish -- most notably in the opening track, "Dr. Jive (Part 1)," a Clarke composition that serves as an overture to the entire recording and showcases Purim's capacity to deliver compelling vocals without words.

Other noteworthy tracks include a lush rendition of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Dindi," with Purim singing Portuguese lyrics by Vinicius de Moraes; and the closer, an intriguing reinterpretation of the Clarke/RTF classic "Light as a Feather."

Everyone on hand is in fine form, but "as for Flora herself, this is a remarkable performance," wrote Keepnews in his liner notes written for the 2007 reissue. "As I listen to her now, I appreciate the freshness, and lyrical strength, and tremendous individual vitality to be heard here."

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