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New music from Flora Purim and the Spanish Harlem Orchestra

Flora Purim by Mel Gabardo Courtesy of the artist
Mel Gabardo
courtesy of the artist
Brazilian jazz-fusion vocalist Flora Purim.

Brazilian jazz-fusion icon Flora Purim released her latest, "If You Will" on May 6. The Spanish Harlem Orchestra's "Imágenes Latinas" drops on May 20, and so does the re-issue of Brazilian musical wizard Hermeto Pascoal's 1970 debut as a bandleader.

The unmistakable six-octave voice of Flora Purim defined keyboardist Chick Corea's 1970s recordings with his band "Return to Forever," and graced similar works by George Duke and Carlos Santana. Her charismatic performances with her husband drummer/percussionist Airto Moreira are legendary.

Airto Moreira - Flora Purim: Jazz Summit Hollabrunn 1985

At age 80, Purim headed back into the studio with Moreira and their daughter Diana to record her first album in 15 years. A mix of new material and reworked favorites, "If You Will" came out on May 6.

The title track updates a piece Purim recorded with George Duke in the 1990s. A new version of "500 Miles High" is a touching tribute to her friend and long-time collaborator, Chick Corea, who died in 2021.

Listen for "This is Me" from "If You Will" on Jazz Caliente this Saturday.

Also this week, we'll hear "La Música Latina" from the upcoming Spanish Harlem Orchestra (SHO) album "Imágenes Latinas," scheduled to release on May 20— just in time for the band's 20th anniversary.

Picnic Performances: Carnegie Hall Citywide with Spanish Harlem Orchestra

"Imágenes Latinas" is the band's eighth album, and it's the first SHO release on bandleader Oscar Hernandez's own imprint, Ovation Records. The recording wasfan-funded.

The title is a nod to the influential New York Latin group Conjunto Libre, led by drummer Manny Oquendo and featuring brothers Andy Gonzalez on bass and Jerry Gonzalez on trumpet and congas.

“Libre was one of the great bands of our music," Hernandez said in a press release. "Their talent and friendship were very important to my early music foundation.”

The Spanish Harlem Orchestra will perform at Seattle's Jazz Alley on July 14 through July 17.

Also due for release on May 20 is a reissue of the 1970 album, "Hermeto," the first recording as bandleader from Brazil's musician-beyond-category Hermeto Pascoal.

The original album was produced by Flora Purim and Airto Moreira, and hailed as a seminal fusion of Brazilian tradition and jazz experimentation. It featured North American jazz stars Ron Carter on bass, Hubert Laws on flute, and Joe Farrell on saxophones.

Listen for the tune "Hermeto" on Saturday's Jazz Caliente.

Hermeto (1970) - Coalhada (Yogurt)

Jazz Caliente airs Saturdays at 5:00 p.m. The show is hosted by Robin Lloyd and produced by KNKX Public Radio.

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Originally from Detroit, Robin Lloyd has been presenting jazz, blues and Latin jazz on public radio for nearly 40 years. She's a member of the Jazz Education Network and the Jazz Journalists Association.