Vivacious, young soprano Marie McLaughlin is magnificent as the ill-fated courtesan Violetta in this passionate production of Giuseppe Verdi's timeless classic, directed by the internationally renowned Sir Peter Hall and conducted by one of music's all-time greats, Bernard Haitink. Walter MacNeil brings to striking life the role of Violetta's lover, Alfredo, and Brent Ellis shines as Alfredo's father, Germont. Set in 19th century Paris, this moving story of doomed love and its dramatic deathbed reconciliation remains one of Verdi's most popular operas.
With a constantly shifting series of musicians at her back, Purim turns in a correspondingly eclectic album, veering freely from the Great American Songbook to jazz-rock to Brazil and back again. However, this album begins in a somewhat unfocused manner – Flora does not sound completely comfortable with the songs in English – and only hits its stride somewhere in the middle, when the Brazilian elements really kick in. Of the standards, "Angel Eyes" is backed bittersweetly by the British saxophone quartet Itchy Fingers, and there is a leisurely, spare-textured "Midnight Sun" featuring George Duke.
Throughout Flora's Song, the veteran Brazilian singer Flora Purim is heard in prime form. The ten compositions fit her style well; she swings in her own fashion and puts plenty of feeling into her vocals. In addition, there are many fine solos along the way, with the standouts including Harvey Wainapel's flute solo on "Flora's Song" and the steel drums of Andy Narrell on "E Precisa Perdoar" and "Forbidden Love." Whether any of the songs eventually become standards is open to question, but they are welcome additions to Flora Purim's repertoire. This is her most rewarding recording in several years, and she sounds quite happy throughout the excellent set.
Remastered in 24-bit from the original master tapes. Part of our Keepnews Collection, which spotlights classic albums originally produced by the legendary Orrin Keepnews. The 1974 release of this album on the Fantasy group's Milestone label created an instant impact and launched one of the most exciting and tempestuous vocalists of the decade. Flora Purim and her husband, the brilliant percussionist Airto Moreira, had been part of Chick Corea's "Return to Forever" band, and Airto had gained much attention with Miles Davis, but this record combined their Brazilian rhythms for the first time with the "fusion" jazz of players like George Duke and Stanley Clarke. The result was a high-energy music of enormous appeal.
As an original member of Chick Corea's group Return to Forever, Purim subsequently drew praise as a solo act. Recording for the jazz label Milestone since 1973, Purim's sensual and strong voice was singular enough to withstand the pitfalls that hampered the work of many Latin jazz fusion artists. Open Your Eyes You Can Fly represents a commercial breakthrough, and has the artist again supplemented by adventurous players and top-notch songwriting.
In 1979, jazz was no longer George Duke's primary focus; his albums were emphasizing soul/funk, and many of the R&B fans who knew him for late '70s hits, like "Dukey Stick," "I Want You for Myself," and "Reach for It," knew little or nothing about his work with Cannonball Adderley, Billy Cobham, or Jean-Luc Ponty. But Duke was still producing some jazz albums here and there, although they weren't necessarily straight ahead. Even though Flora Purim's Carry On, which Duke produced, is primarily a Brazilian jazz album, it isn't for jazz purists – rather, Purim provides an eclectic blend of jazz, samba, R&B/funk, rock and pop.
This was one of Flora Purim's finest all-around jazz recordings, and it is luckily available on CD. Purim is featured in a variety of challenging and stimulating settings: on two numbers ("Above the Rainbow" and "Tomara") with pianist McCoy Tyner; teamed up with tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson on Chick Corea's "Windows" and "Black Narcissus" ~ AllMusic
This album is Flora breaking down all the boundaries. The last album she recorded for Milestone Records, it's the most hardcore fusion of all her work. In my opinion, it's the most daring album she's done–she expanded her highly unique vocalese/scat-singing technique to the point where only a couple of tracks have lyrics. The rest feature Flora singing wordless melodies and doing some amazing things with her voice that no one else has done before or since, with nary a hint of traditional "cocktail jazz" singing. ~ Amazon Customer's Review