Airto Moreira & Flora Purim in Concert
I have witnessed the brilliance of these two musicians at least twice in Birmingham and also twice in Japan, each time at intimate jazz venues where even if you are seated at the back you are close to the stage.
Airto Moreira is, without doubt, one of the world’s finest percussion players, having played with Miles Davies, Joe Zawinul’s group ‘Weather Report’, and Chick Corea in his group ‘Return to Forever’.
As a jazz vocalist Flora Purim is of equal standing, having also been part of Chick Corea’s ‘Return to Forever’. Both musicians have performed with many other artists, making valuable contributions on countless albums.
Together Airto Moreira and Flora Purim make a formidable pair. I was astounded at how Moreira was able to play the drum kit and other percussion instruments at the same time, giving the illusion of at least two instrumentalists, and how his hands and feet worked independently, playing completely different rhythms that combined to produce a rhythm of dazzling complexity.
In one concerts the band left the stage and Moreira walked to the centre with nothing more than a tambourine. In what I expected to be the least inspiring part of the show I was astonished with Moreira’s performance, and what could be done with the humble tambourine in the hands of a skilled percussionist.
Another time I was intrigued to see Purim using two microphones. The main microphone was held at a normal distance from her mouth while a second microphone, with a delay effect, was held a little further away. She mixed the level of delay by altering the distance of the microphone from her mouth, essentially creating a studio effect live.
The last concert I saw with Moreira and Purim however was somewhat disappointing. Their performance was only mediocre, lacking the energy, sparkle, and innovation I had witnessed on previous occasions, and not what I had come to expect from musicians of such repute.
After the concert I remember leaving not so much disappointed, but dissatisfied. However, as a musician myself I found it comforting to learn that even the world’s best can, for whatever reason, have an off night.