Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Review: Flora Purim - Nothing Will Be As It Was...Tomorrow

Flora Purim had both risen to stardom and earned critical acclaim while under the Milestone banner and Orin Keepnews stewardship. After four highly productive years though it was time for pastures new and bigger, and Purim made the move to jump ship from the smaller label to the much more commercially sized Warner Brothers.

It was unfortunately this move that signalled the end of Purim’s golden phase; as the more commercial sound strive for new acceptance would tend to move the talented songstress into less musically desirable areas. The opening shot from her Warner years, ‘Nothing Will Be As It Was…Tomorrow’ shows this, for better and for worse, perfectly.

Some good songs are here, courtesy of the Brazillian legend Milton Nascimento, Purim herself, and somewhat surprisingly also some of Earth Wind And Fire, who notably bring the excellent, and probably most famous piece here, ‘Angels’. Sounding like prime Earth Wind And Fire, Purim adds some typically lush vocal work, and the effect is an absolute winner. But in truth it feels less like Flora Purim, and more like Earth Wind And Fire with a Flora Purim guest spot. Purim’s own material works a whole lot better however, and Milton Nascimento’s songs get some good makeover, if with a much heavier funk effect.

‘Bridges’ aside, which gets a nicely soulful arrangement, this whole effort veers more into the late ‘70’s sounds of disco and funk. The album has a classic 1970’s R&B-jazz production quality to it courtesy of George Duke (though here listed as ‘Dawili Gonga’) and Leon ‘Ndugu’ Chancler, that though perfect for certain R&B and jazz acts, here does not quite meld with Purim’s uniquely Brazillian fusion style.

Purim’s silky Portuguese vocals and seductively accented English singing however still work a treat, and the musicianship here is of the usual high quality. As such it works for commited fans of Flora Purim, and of George Duke, and there are a good number of tracks here that will appeal to the casual listener. But for the devotees of Purim’s earlier and classier work, and as a recording on it’s own right it’s a fairly mixed bag.


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