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World Music CD Reviews Jazz

FLORA PURIM

By ROBERT KAYE
Published April 19, 2006

Speak No Evil
Narada Jazz

Long regarded as the “Queen of Brazilian Jazz,” vocalist Flora Purim celebrates the music of seminal American composers, including Cole Porter, George and Ira Gershwin and Wayne Shorter, along with songs from Brazil’s rich musical heritage. Joining Purim is husband and longtime collaborator, percussionist Airto Moreira. The album sizzles wondrously, with Purim’s scrumptious vocals propelled by a dexterous rhythm section led by Morita. Some tunes, like “You Go To My Head,” feature more traditional jazz arrangements, save for Purim’s enticing Portuguese accented lyrics. Yet it’s the more indigenous Afro-Caribbean and Brazilian jazz tracks giving this album an unbridled charm. For example, the Gershwins’ “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” is warmly embraced as an evocative samba.  And when Purim & Co. let loose with percolating Brazilian rhythms as on “Tamanco no Samba,” it’s clear why this is a must-have.  In addition to receiving Grammy nominations for Best Female Jazz Performance and Downbeat Magazine’s “Best Female Jazz Vocals,” Purim was recently awarded Brazil’s 2002 “Ordem do Rio Branco” for Lifetime Achievement. This album is a testament to her journey and fruition.