Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Moreira, Airto (Guimorva)

Moreira, Airto (Guimorva), percussion, drums, singer; b. Itaiopolis, Brazil, 5 August 1941. Itaiopolis is a small village in the Santa Catarina state of southern Brasil; he was raised in the city of Curitiba, capital of the state of Parana. They lived on the outskirts of town with no electricity, just kerosene lamps and a fire burning stove.
His father Jose Rosa Moreira was a spiritual healer all of his life. Guimorva is the mother's family name.

Even before he could walk Airto would start shaking and banging on the floor every time the radio played a hot song. This worried his mother, but his grandmother recognized his potential and encouraged him to express himself. By the time he was six years old he had won many children's music contests by singing and playing percussion. The city gave him his own radio program once a week. The mayor offered him a full scholarship to the Music Academy of Ponta Grossa, where he studied piano and guitar from 1948-50, though percussion remained his serious interest. At thirteen he became a professional musician, playing percussion, drums, and singing in local dance bands. He moved to Sao Paulo at the age of sixteen and performed regularly in nightclubs and television as a percussionist, drummer and singer. By 1963, Airto had moved to Rio de Janeiro, where he cofounded the legendary Quarteto Novo (New Quartet) with Hermeto Pascoal, Theofilo De Barros and Heraldo Do Mon te. During his travels he collected numerous percussion instruments. In 1965 he met the singer Flora Purim in Rio de Janeiro. Flora moved to Los Angeles in 1967 and Airto followed her about a month later. Percussionist Moacir Santos lived in the same apartment building. They soon moved to New York, where Flora worked in a restaurant called Lost &Found. Between paid gigs, Airto would play there for his dinner. Airto soon began playing with musicians such as Reggie Workman, JJ Johnson, Cedar Walton and bassist Walter Booker. It was through Booker that Airto began playing with Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, Paul Desmond and Joe Zawinul, to name a few. Zawinul recommended Airto to Miles Davis for a recording session in 1970 for the "Bitches Brew" album. Davis then invited Airto to join his group, which included such jazz icons as Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Jack De Johnette, Chick Corea and later John McLaughlin and Keith Jarrett. He remained with Miles for two years. Following his stint with Miles Davis, Airto was invited to form the original Weather Report with Wayne Shorter, Joe Zawinul, Miroslav Vitous and Alphonse Mouzon. Soon after, he joined Chick Corea's original Return to Forever group with Flora Purim, Joe Farrell and Stanley Clarke. In 1974 Airto formed his first band in the U.S., "Fingers" with Flora Purim. Since then they have performed constantly all over the world and recorded their own album for major record companies in Europe and America. Airto remains one of popular music's most in demand percussionists. His work with Quincy Jones, Herbie Hancock, George Duke and Paul Simon, Carlos Santana, Gil Evans, Gato Barbieri, Michael Brecker, The Crusaders, Chicago, and many others including contributions to movie sound tracks such as The Exorcist, Last Tango in Paris, King of the Gypsies and Apocalypse Now, represents only a small number of the musical contributions Airto has made over the last three decades. His impact was so powerful that Downbeat magazine added the category of percussion to its readers and critic's polls, which he has won over twenty times since 1973. In the past few years he was voted number one percussionist by Jazz Times, Modern Drummer, Drum Magazine, Jazzizz Magazine, Jazz Central Station's Global Jazz Poll on the Internet, as well as in many European, Latin American and Asian publications. He has been advancing the cause of world and percussion music as a member of the "Planet Drum" percussion ensemble, with Mickey Hart, drummer for "The Grateful Dead", and master conga player Giovanni Hidalgo and tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain, along with Flora Purim, Babatunde Olatunji, Sikiru Adepoju and Vikku Vinayakram. Planet Drum won a Grammy Award in 1991 for World Music. Airto's love for the music and the people of his native country of Brazil takes him back every year to visit old friends and relatives as well as to pay respects to his spiritual guides and elders. Airto has been involved in "Spiritism" since an early age and used to go to the "sessions" with his father. His lifelong interest in spirituality led him to record The Other Side of This, an exploration into the healing powers of music and the spiritual world. Most recently Airto performed as a guest star with the Boston Pops Philharmonic Orchestra on a special for the PBS TV, and the Smashing Pumpkins "Unplugged" for MTV. His song "Maracatu" was chosen to be one of the official songs for the 2002 World Cup in Asia to open the ceremonies for the event in Japan. His song "Celebration Suite" was re-mixed by the DJ group "Bellini Brothers" entitled "Samba de Janeiro". The track hit #1 in the dance music charts over 26 countries around Europe, Asia and Latin America. Airto has worked together with and had his music re-mixed by Frederic Galliano, Giles Peterson, Endemic Void, Justice, Ashley Beedle, Circadian Rhythms, Jimpster, Amon Tobin, and Max Breenen, among others. Once again Airto was voted the number one percussionist of the year (2001) on the 66th Readers Annual Poll on "Down Beat Magazine". In September of 2002, Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso named Airto Moreira and Flora Purim to the "Order of Rio Branco", one of Brazil's highest honors. The Order of Rio Branco was created in 1963 to formally recognize Brazilian and foreign individuals who have significantly contributed to the promotion of Brazil's international relations. The order is named after Barao do Rio Branco, Brazil's Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1902 to 1912, famous for his role in negotiating the national borders of Brazil and referred as the "Father of Brazil's Diplomacy". After many shows in many countries and venues, Airto chose the year of 2002 to make an old dream come true. This was to teach the Brazilian people a little bit of his musical technique and also about life, spiritualism, energy and much more. Invited by the Alexandria Library in Egypt, Airto played at the re-opening event that brought people from around the world to attend it. Due to its enormous success, he has already been invited to return. It was a great musical and personal experience. For three years Airto was a professor at the Ethnomusicology department of UCLA, and broke new ground in musical concepts and creative energy. He divided his time between recording studios, workshops and clinics, creating new projects including DVD Surround Sound, as well as researching new materials for future releases, and live performances in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America.

Natural Feelings (1970); Seeds on the Ground (1971); Fingers (1972); Free (with Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett, Ron Carter, 1972); Virgin Land (1974); Identity (with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, 1975); Promises of the Sun (1976); I'm Fine, How are You? (1977); Touching You... Touching Me (1980); Misa Espiritual: Airto's Brazilian Mass (1984); Latino: Aqui Se Puede (1986); Samba De Flora (1988); Struck by Lightning (1989); Killer Bees (Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, 1989); The Other Side of This (1992); Revenge of the Killer Bees (remix, 1998); Homeless (1999); Life After That (2003); Airto Moreira & Flora Purim: Humble People (1985), Three-Way Mirror (1985), The Magicians (1986), The Sun is Out (1987), The Colours of Life (1988); Fourth World: Fourth World (1992),  Live At Ronnie Scott's Club (1992), Live in South Africa 1993 (1993), Encounters of the Fourth World (1995), Africa (remixes, (1996), Last Journey of the Fourth World (1998), Return Journey (remixes, 1998), Perpetual emotion (2001); 
As sideperson:
Al DiMeola: Soaring Through a Dream (1985), Cielo e Terra (1985); Alfonso Johnson: Moonshadows (1976); Aloisio Aguiar: King of Hearts (1997); Amampondo: Drums For Tomorrow (1997); Andre Heller: Basta (1978), Andre Heller: Narrenlieder (1984); Annette Peacock: I'm the One (1972); Antonio Carlos Jobim: Tide (1970), Stone Flower (1970), Jobim (1972); Arbuckle: Arbuckle (1972); Astrud Gilberto: I Haven't Got Anything Better to Do (1969), Astrud Gilberto with Stanley Turrentine (1971); Average White Band: Feel No Fret (1979); Babatunde Olatunji: Dance to the Beat of My Drum (1986); Drums of Passion: The Invocation (1988), The Beat (1989); Bill Gable: There Were Signs (1989); Bob James: "H "(1980), Flashback Follow Bob James (1981); Bobby Vega: Down the Road (1997); Bobby Hutcherson: Vibe Wise (1984), Color Schemes (1985); Brecker Brothers: Detente (1980); Brice Wassey: Shrine Dance (1996); Buddy Terry: Buddy Terry (1970); Bud Cockrell & P attie Santos: New Beginnings (1978); Byron Wallen: Sound Advice (1995); Cal Tjader: Amazonas (1975); Cano Estremera: El Nino de Oro (1992); Cannonball Adderley: Soul of the Bible (1972), The Black Messiah (1972), Happy People (1972), Phenix (1975), Big Man-The Legend of John Henry: A Folk Musical (1975), Lovers (1975), Music, You All (1976); Carlos Santana: Borboletta (1974), Dance of the Rainbow Serpent (1995); Carpenters: Lovelines (1977); Cesar Camargo Mariano: Octeto de Cesar Camargo Mariano (1966); Charlie Mariano: Mirror (1972); Charles Rouse: Two is One (1974); Chaka Khan: Chaka (1978); Chicago: Chicago 13 (1979); Chick Corea: Live in New York City (1974), Secret Agent (1978), Tap Step (1979); Chick Corea & Return To Forever: Return To Forever (1972); NDR-Die Jazz-Werkstatt 1972 (Return to Forever Live) (1972); Return to the Seventh Galaxy: Return to Forever the Anthology (1972), Light As A Feather (1973); CTI All-Stars: California Concert: The Hollywood Palladium (1971); CTI Summer Jazz at The Hollywood Bowl (1972); Danny O'Keefe: Breezy Stories (1973); Darius Brubeck& Deepak Ram: Gathering Forces II (1995); David Friesen: Amber Skies (1983), Other Times-Other Places (1989), Departure (1990), Ancient Kings (1998); David Pomeranz: Time to Fly (1971); Dee Dee Bridgewater: Just Family (1978); Dianne Reeves: Dianne Reeves (1987), Quiet After the Storm (1995); Dizzy Gillespie and The United Nations Orchestra: Live at the Royal Festival Hall (1989); Don Sebesky Big Band: Giant Box (1973); Donald Byrd: Kofi (1969), Electric Byrd (1970); Duke Pearson: I Don't Care Who Knows It (1968), Merry Ole Soul (1969), How Insensitive (1969); Edu Lobo: Cantiga de Longe (1970), Sergio Mendes Presents Lobo (1971); Elements: Spirit River (1990); Esther Phillips: From a Whisper to a Scream (1971); Eumir Deodato: Prelude (1972); Eumir Deodato & Joao Donato: Donato Deodato (1973); Eumir Deodato & Airto Moreira: In Concert (1974); Floetry: 4 Ya 3rd Eye (1996); Flora Purim: Butterfly Dreams (1973), Stories to Tell (1974), Miles High (1974), Encounter (1976), Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly (1976), Nothing Will Be as it Was.. Tomorrow (1977), That's What She Said (1978), Everyday, Everynight (1978), Midnight Sun (1988), Queen of the Night (1992), Now Go Ahead and Open Your Eyes (1993), Speed of Light (1994), Rremixes from Speed of Light (1994), Open Your Eyes, You Can Fly (remix, 1994), Carry On (1998); Foxy: Party Boys (1979); Frank Foster: The Loud Minority (1985); Freddie Hubbard: First Light (1971), Sky Dive (1972), Polar AC (1975); Full Moon: Full Moon (1972); Gary Meek: Gary Meek (1991); Gato Barbieri: Bolivia (1973), Under Fire (1973), El Gato (1975); George Benson: White Rabbit (1971); George Duke: George Duke & Feel (1974), The Aura Will Prevail (1975), I Love The Blues, She Heard My Cry (1975), Liberated Fantasies (1976), A Brazilian Love Affair (1979), Snapshot (1992), Is Love Enough? (1997); Geraldo Vandre & Trio Novo: 20 Preferidas (1966); Geraldo Vandre & Quarteto Novo: Canto Geral (168); Gianluca Mosole: Tepore (1987); Gil Evans: Where Flamingos Fly (1971); Grover Washington, Jr.: Inner City Blues (1971), All the Kings Horses (197 2); Hank Crawford: Help Me Make it Through the Night (1972); Herbie Hancock: Dis is da Drum (1994); Hermeto Pascoal: Brazilian Adventure (1972), Slaves Mass (1977); Hubert Laws: Firebird, Afro Classic (1970), The Rite of Spring (1971), Wild Flower (1972), In the Beginning (1974), Then There Was Light (1974); Hummingbird: Diamond Nights (1977); Indra Lesmana: For Earth and Heaven (1984); Itchy Fingers: Teranga (1988); Jackie Cain & Roy Kral: Time and Love (1972); James Taylor: That's Why I'm Here (1985); James Taylor Quartet: Supernatural Feelings (1994); J. J. Johnson: J & K - Betwixt and Between (1969); Jim Hall: Where Would I Be? (1971); Joe Farrell: Outback (1971), Night Dancing (1978); John McLaughlin: My Goal's Beyond (1970); John Klemmer: Arabesque (1978), Brazilia (1979); Johnny Hammond Smith: Johnny Hammond (1971), Wild Horses Rock Steady (1972), The Prophet Johnny Hammond (1972); Joni Mitchell: Don Juan's Reckless Daughter (1977); Jose Ne to: Mountains and the Sea (1986), Neto (1993), In Memory of Thunder (1996);o Jovino Santos Neto: Caboclo (1997); Joyce Moreno w/Quarteto Novo: Rare Tracks (1968); Karen Carpenter: Karen Carpenter (1979); Keith Jarrett: Expectations (1972); Kenny Burrell: God Bless The Child (1971); Lauren Wood: Cat Trick (1981); Lee Oskar: My Road, Our Road (1980); Lennie Dale: Lennie Dale e o Sambalansso Trio; Leon Thomas: Blues and the Soulful Truth (1972); Leon Ware: Leon Ware (1982); Lonnie Smith: Lonnie Smith (1971); Madala Kunene: Kon'ko Man (1996); Mandei Michiru: Adoption Agency (1996); Marco Bosco: Tokyo Diary (1993); Marcos Valle: Vontade de Rever Voce (1981); Masaaki Kikuchi: One Way Traveler (1991); McCoy Tyner: 13th House (1982); Michel Colombier: Michel Colombier (1979); Michael Johnson: There is a Breeze (1973); Michael White: The X Factor (1978); Micky Hart: Dafos (1982), Rhythm Devils Play River Music - Apocalypse Now Sessions (1989), At the Edge (1990), Planet Drum (1991), Mystery Box (1996), Supralingua (1998); Miles Davis: The Complete Bitches Brew Sessions (1969), Spanish Key (1969), Miles Davis Live 1970/1973 (1970), What I Say-Volume 2 (1970), Circle in the Round (1970), Black Beauty Miles Davis at Fillmore West (1970), Miles Davis at Fillmore (1970), Directions (1970), Live Evil (1970), Big Fun (1972), Get Up With It (1974); Milton Nascimento: Courage (1968), Milton (1976); Miroslav Vitous: Magical Shepherd (1976); Narada Michael Walden: Awakening (1979); Nils Landgren: Paint it Blue (1997); Norman C onnors: Dance of Magic (1972); Opa: Golden Wings (1976), Magic Time (1977); Paul Desmond: Summertime (1968), From the Hot Afternoon (1969), Bridge Over Troubled Water (1971); Paul Horn: Brazilian Images (1989); Paul Simon: Paul Simon (1971), There Goes Rhymin' Simon (1973), Hearts and Bones (1983); Peter Yarrow: Peter (1972); Petula Clark: Warm and Tender (1971); Prairie Madness: Prairie Madness (1972); Quarteto Novo: Quarteto Novo (Quarteto Novo/Radames Gnattali) (1967); Raimundo Fagner: Fagner (1982); Randy Weston: Blue Moses (1972); Randy Tico: Earth Dance (1990); Raul De Souza: Raulzinho E O Sambalanco Trio: A Vontade Mesmo (1965), Colors (1975), Sweet Lucy (1977), Don't Ask My Neighbors (1978); Ray Barretto: Aqui Se Puede (1987); Reinhard Flatischler: Layers of Time (1996); Rick Margitza: Color (1989), Hope (1990); Ricky Randimbiarison: Olobelona Ricky (1997); Roy Clark: Makin' Music (1979); Rhythmstick: Rhythmstick (1989); Sambalansso Trio: Sambalansso Trio Vol. 1 (1964), Sambalansso Trio (1965), Reencontro Com Sambalansso Trio (1965); Sambrasa Trio: Sambrasa Trio (1966); Sergio Mendes: Primal Roots (1972), Brasil '88 (1978); Stan Getz: Captain Marvel (1972), Best of Two Worlds (1976); Stanley Clarke: Stanley Clarke (1974), I Wanna Play For You (1979); Stanley Clarke & Billy Shields: Shieldstone (1987); Stanley Turrentine: The Sugar Man (1973), Salt Song (1971); Steve Kuhn: Steve Kuhn (1971); Soledad Bravo: Volando Voy (1984); Soundtracks: The Exorcist (1974), Blue Mirage, King of the Gypsies, Apocalypse Now (1979); Shaka Zulu (Dave Pollecutt) (1993); Sweet Inspirations: Hot Butterfly (1979); Teresa Brewer: Teresa Brewer Portrait (1976); Terumasa Hino: Double Rainbow (1981); Tina Turner: Rough (1978); Tommy Bolin: From The Archives Vol. 1 (1996); Transglobal Underground: International Times (1994); Various Artists: III Festival Internacional Da Canssao Popular: Rio - Vol. III (1968); Message to Love: The Isle of Wight Festival 1970 (1996), ECM Special (1972), Live in Moscow (1994); Various Artists: Jazz Trumpet: Trumpeter's Holiday (1995), South Africa: Outernational Meltdown Vol.1 Free at Last (1995), South Africa: Outernational Meltdown Vol.2 Healers Brew (1995), South Africa: Outernational Meltdown Vol.3 Jazzin' Universally (1995), Red Hot + Rio (PM Dawn with Flora Purim + Airto) (1996), Pure Listening Pleasure: Red Hot + Rio (1996); Trip Through Sound (Airto samples) (1996), On a Starry Night (1997), Sweet Emotions (1997), Instinct 359 Heirs to Jobim: Musical Tribute (1997), Tribal Ethno Dance CHA(P)ttER One - Drum -n'-Metal (remixes) (1997), Outside the Reactor (1997), Brave New World Vol. 7 (1997); Walter Wanderley: Moondreams (1969); Wayne Shorter: Super Nova (1969), Native Dancer (1975), High Life (1995); Wea ther Report: Weather Report (1971)

Contact information: 
Airto Moreira and Flora Purim now live in the Los Angeles area and can be reached for booking via the information listed below.
A-Train Management:
Phone: 510 893-4705
Fax: 510 893-4807
Airflow Productions:

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