Two realities are abundantly clear from listening to this Brazilian songstress legend's latest mix of standards and originals -- she swings magnificently with great jazz company (including her husband, percussion legend Airto Moreira) and she's far more emotionally effective singing in her native Portuguese than in her heavily accented English. Her phrasing is solid on classics like "You Go To My Head" and the samba flavored "I've Got You Under My Skin," but her thick accent keeps the ears distracted somewhat from the message her heart seeks to convey. Fortunately, on these and other English language tunes by Don Grusin, Wayne Shorter and the vastly underrated L.A. keyboardist/songwriter Bill Cantos, she's surrounded by bandmates that propel her to great heights. On the opener "This Magic," that includes Moreira's jamming with flutist Gary Meek and members of The Yellowjackets. The same crowd turns "Speak No Evil" into a similarly wild trad-jazz affair. But compare her strained vocals on those tracks with her effortless vocal magic on Brazilian classics like "Tamanco no Samba" and "O Sonho" and the distinction between mere very good and close to perfection is clear. Another gem is the samba-lite tune written by Airto and Yutaka Yokokura, "Primeira Estrela," which rolls along on the strength of Purim's vocal harmonies with Yutaka and Oscar Castro Neves' beautiful acoustic guitar. To truly speak no musical evil, Purim should concentrate on mas Portugues.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran