With a rare six-octave voice, Flora Purim has been one of the leading Brazilian jazz singers since the 1970s.
Born March 6, 1942, in Rio de Janeiro to a Russian immigrant father who played the violin and a mother who was a pianist, Flora had mastered the guitar and piano by the time she left Brazil to escape the repressive military regime of the time. Upon arriving in New York in 1967, she and Airto Moreira became active in the experimental electric jazz groups that were beginning to emerge.
Her first invitation to record and perform came from Blue Note recording artist Duke Pearson. This led to a tour with legendary arranger Gil Evans. And soon after, she found herself working with Chick Corea and Stan Getz.
In late 1971 she joined Corea, Stanley Clarke and Joe Farrell to form Return To Forever. The two resulting albums – Return To Forever and Light As A Feather are regarded as landmark recordings of the fusion movement.
Flora released Butterfly Dreams, her first solo album, in 1973, to much critical acclaim and contributed to some of the 1970s’ greatest recordings, including those of Carlos Santana, Hermeto Pascoal and Mickey Hart.
In the mid-1980s, Flora resumed her musical partnership with Airto and recorded two albums for the Concord label.
In 1990, Airto Moreira and Flora Purim formed Fourth World. The group toured consistently in the United States, Europe, South America, Russia and the Far East.
In 1992 Flora sang on Mickey Hart’s Planet Drum, which won a Grammy for Best World Music Album, and on the Dizzy Gillespie United Nations Orchestra’s self-titled album, which also won a Grammy for Best Jazz Album.
In 2022, Flora Purim released “If You Will“, her first studio album in over 15 years. Envisioned as a celebration of her music and collaborations, the album features new compositions together with fresh versions of Flora’s favorite personal songs and positive lyrics from across her varied career.
Title track ‘If You Will’ reinterprets a song from her outstanding collaborations with George Duke: “You will find… good love, real joy, so much peace of mind, if you will…”; the resilient ‘This Is Me’ updates an Airto jam band tune ‘I Don’t Wanna Be Myself Again’; ‘500 Miles High’ marks the prime of the late Chick Corea’s Return To Forever band and ‘Zahuroo’ is a song by Claudia Villela about “a shapeshifting animal creature, a messenger who acts as a bridge between our thoughts and the universe.”
“If You Will” was recorded primarily in Curitiba and Sao Paulo, Brazil. Participants include many of Flora’s closest circle of musicians including Airto Moreira, guitarist José Neto, Flora’s daughter, Diana Purim, on vocals and percussionist Celso Alberti.