For those who thought that despite recording, Flora Purim's musical career went out the window with her prison term in the early '90s, or, worse, at the end of 1970s jazz-world fusion boom, think again. Perpetual Emotion is the strongest recording Ms. Purim's monumental talent has given us since 1975's 500 Miles High. Accompanied by life partner and collaborator percussionist Airto Moreira, saxophonist Gary Meek, pianist Christian Jacob, bassist Trey Henry, and acoustic guitarist Oscar Castro Neves, and producer Dom Comardella, Purim has selected material that showcases the ease and flow of a voice that contains within it the passion of Brazil and the airiness of a spring day. Some of those selections, such as Cesar Mariano's "Saudade," offer the deep melancholy of looking back to places you can never again visit and reveal within them the sweeter memories they hold. Chris Jacob's piano leads the way trough the tune and strips it of any false "exotic" artifice. It's a jazz ballad with a Brazilian melody and rhythm, eased through the gates by Moreira's easy touch and a flowing bassline by Henry. On "Fotographia" by Antonio Carlos Jobim, Purim takes the tune, which has been recorded literally hundreds of times, to its folksy essence and makes of it a song that is neither jazz nor samba, but a tome of memory and longing. The highlight of the album is the revisiting of Chick Corea's and Neville Potter's "Crystal Silence." While the song had been in Purim's early repertoire as an improvisation, a wordless melody, because she had not known -- even though she had been part of Corea's Return to Forever -- that the tune had words all along. Her feeling for the original is fierce and moving; it flows from her like a river of feeling and motion, it offers the notion of seeing with new eyes that which has been present all along. Her interpretive voice has never sounded stronger, and her band is understated enough to let it come freely through the mix while providing her with musical challenges to rise to. Perpetual Emotion is the album Purim's been promising to deliver her entire career. Let us hope that this is the first of many like it to come.
AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek