Many of Airto Moreira's records from the late 1970s and early '80s get an undeserved bad rap because of their obvious – and intended – commercial appeal. Though he came to prominence in America as a member of Miles Davis' early electric bands, Moreira was an established artist in Brazil; one who sought to marry the sounds of his nation's folk traditions with all kinds of popular music. 1979's Touching You…Touching Me was recorded during his Warner period, and is perhaps his most polished record. Self-produced, he learned much of the technique he employed from the best-selling recordings of the time in all pop genres.
An interesting if quite diverse set, this album is best remembered for featuring up-and-coming singer Bobby McFerrin on a few selections. McFerrin has his moments, as does tenor saxophonist Chico Freeman and such notable sidemen as altoist Steve Coleman, John Purcell on reeds, either Kenny Werner or Mark Thompson on piano, Freeman's longtime bassist Cecil McBee and drummer Billy Hart, among others. The material (by Freeman, Thompson and Werner) is actually not that significant, and the date on a whole is less memorable than many of Chico Freeman's earlier sets, but it has its enjoyable spots.
Miroslav Vitous is best known as one of the foremost young bassists in the jazz-rock movement of the late 60's and early 70's. He was a founding member of Weather Report and made numerous solo albums. This album, Magical Shepherd, is making its worldwide CD debut. It features such jazz luminaries as Herbie Hancock, Jack DeJohnette & Airto Moreira. It was originally issued on LP in 1976 on Warner Brothers.
Why aren't there more recordings like Fly Away Little Bird? Perhaps it's because there aren't more musicians of this stature. The studio reunion of the legendarily experimental Jimmy Giuffre 3 in 1992 was reissued in 2002 on the French Sunnyside label and is a radical departure from anything the trio had done in the past. These studio apparitions of the band are their most seamlessly accessible while being wildly exploratory. In addition to the consummate improvisations and compositions by Giuffre (title track, a redone "Tumbleweed"), the tender meditations by Steve Swallow ("Fits" and "Starts"), and the bottom-register contrapuntal improves by Paul Bley ("Qualude"), this is a trio recording that uses standards such as "Lover Man," a radically and gorgeously reworked "I Can't Get Started," "Sweet and Lovely," and "All the Things You Are" to state hidden textural possibilities inside chromatic harmony. There is never the notion of restraint in the slow, easy, and proactive way these compositions are approached.