Airto Moreira: Free

The Songs:

  1. Return To Forever
  2. Flora’s Song
  3. Free
  4. Lucky Southern
  5. Creek (Arroio)
  6. So Tender (aka Love Should Be, Bonus Track)
  7. Jequie (Bonus Track)
  8. Creek (Arroio) (Bonus Track, Alternate Version)

Personnel:

  • Airto Moreira – drums, percussion, vocals, wood flute
  • Hubert Laws – flute
  • Joe Farrell – soprano saxophone, piccolo, flute, alto flute, bass flute
  • Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Nelson Ayres – piano, electric piano
  • George Benson, Jay Berliner – guitar
  • Ron Carter – acoustic bass
  • Stanley Clarke – electric bass
  • Flora Purim – vocals
  • Don Sebesky – brass ensemble arranger/conductor
  • Burt Collins, Mel Davis, Alan Rubin – trumpet, flügelhorn
  • Wayne Andre, Garnett Brown, Joe Wallace – trombone

Airto Moreira had released a few albums with his own groups in Brazil in the late 60’s , (notably the Sambalanço Trio and Quarteto Novo), before following his wife, Flora Purim, to the United States. He quickly established himself as an important voice on percussion and broadened the palette of the nascent jazz-fusion movement by adding “world music” elements to it. In addition to taking part in several Miles Davis recordings in the early 1970’s, including Bitches Brew and On the Corner, Airto was also a founding member of both Weather Report and Return to Forever.

Free was the first of many critically acclaimed albums he made as a leader for CTI Records in the early 1970’s and is still considered by many to be the best. Airto drew on many players from his associations with Miles and RTF (including Keith Jarrett, Chick Corea, Stanley Clarke, and Joe Farrell), as well as a number of CTI heavy weight players (Hubert Laws, George Benson, and Ron Carter). The music is a mix of styles and influences, ranging from Corea’s pensive Return to Forever, Jarrett’s funky Lucky Southern, and the lively Victor Brazil tune Arroio, to the free jazz meets samba excursions of Flora’s Song and the leader’s own title track. The CD reissue of this landmark recording feature three bonus tracks, including Jarrett’s So Tender, the Moacir Santos composition Jequie, and an alternate take of Arroio. (Buy it here).

Suggested Reading:

Airto Moreira (Rick Mattingly, ed.). The Spirit Of Percussion.

Suggested Viewing:

Airto Moreira & Flora Purim: The Latin Jazz All-Stars.

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