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May 2001

Flora Purim
Perpetual Emotion
Narada Media

Perpetual emotion is right. I have had an on again, off again relationship with this marvelous singer since the mid-'70s when her output began a shift from excellent to mediocre and back. Capable of raising the hairs on the back of my neck, she can also bring on the big yawn. So where are we now?

There's some good stuff on Perpetual Emotion, Purim's first in quite some time, and a return to an emphasis on her jazz side. As a straightahead jazz singer Purim excels on several cuts with husband Airto swinging on the drums with his unique and compelling light touch. Her scatting still leaves me mostly cold, but her soulful insight and phrasing, on Gershwin/Weill's "My Ship" for example, soars with the best. Her remake of her own tune "San Francisco River" is every bit as good as the original. But the overblown multipart vocal arrangement (in a style oddly popular in Brazil) by Oscar Castro Neves is jarringly out of place, if not somewhat hokey, in the middle of what is otherwise a solid, maybe even tastefully understated, spare backing by bass, drums, piano and guitar.

Still, Perpetual Emotion could be the start (again) of something good!

Originally published in May 2001
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