Monday, 10 February 2014

Review: Flora Purim - Encounter

Flora Purim was on the crest of the first wave of jazz fusion in the early and mid 1970’s, and helped create her unique position in the genre by putting her voice up against a whole blend of Brazilian rhythms, new sounds and some incredible backing musician talent.

One thing that always helped position Purim and her music  was her playful and exuberant performances, and this rose to an uptempo peak on the excellent ‘Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly’. ‘Encounter’ then comes as a surprise to the more fusion-headed fans of Purim, aiming for a much more relaxed mellower mood than any of her earlier works. The results however remain unchanged – high quality music from start to finish, including great pieces, pristine musicianship and some of the Brazilian chanteuse’s finest singing to date.

As always featuring a winningly strong line-up of musicians, here new guest McCoy Tyner brings his personal piano touch to proceedings, with a winning duet between Tyner and Purim rating as some of the most interesting work either has committed to tape. Joe Henderson returns to lend some sterling saxophone work too, most notably on the excellent ‘Black Narcissus’, easily the album highlight. Always a fantastic piece of music, Purim’s version here just raises it to another level, with her singing perfectly pitched, and matched sublimely to Henderson’s brilliant solo.

A notably lighter, softer, mellower and distinctly more jazzy recording than any of Flora Purim’s previous works, ‘Encounter’ is a great album. Granted it heads in a different direction, but that is no bad thing. A chilled and relaxing listen, it offers a different side to the singer, a different yet great side, and though probably not the first port of call for newcomers, it should surely be investigated by any fans of her other works.


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