Airto Moreira

altOne of the most high-profile percussionists of the 1970s and still among the most famous, Brazilian percussionist Airto Moreira (often simply known by his first name) helped make percussion an essential part of modern jazz.

Albums:

  1. Homeless
  2. Airto Moreira presents Code: Brazil Target: Recife
  3. Killer Bees
  4. Revenge of the Killer Bees
  5. Fourth World - Encounters of
  6. Fourth World - Fourth World
  7. Fourth World - The Last Journey
  8. Fourth World - Return Journey
  9. Fourth World - No Gap
  10. Music With No Name Vol 1 (Fourth World)
  11. Music With  No Name Vol 2

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Making his U.S. debut on the Miles Davis classic BITCHES BREW, Airto went on to perform with many jazz greats including Stan Getz and Lee Morgan and became of founding members of the pioneering fusion groups Weather Report and Return To Forever. Airto was born in 1941 in the small village of Itaiopolis - south Brasil, and was raised in Curitiba. Even before he could walk he 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 music contests by singing and playing percussion. altThe city gave him his own radio program every Saturday afternoon. 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. In 1965 he met the singer Flora Purim in Rio de Janeiro. Flora moved to the USA in 1967 and Airto followed her shortly after. When in New York Airto 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 the greats - Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, Paul Desmond and Joe Zawinul, to name a few. Zawignul 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, and appears on such releases as "Live/Evil", "Live at the Fillmore", "On the Corner", "The Isle of Wight", "Bitches Brew" and later releases including the "Fillmore Sessions". 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 with whom he recorded "The Weather Report". Soon after, he joined Chick Corea¹s original Return to Forever group with Flora Purim, Joe Farrell and Stanley Clarke and they recorded the albums, "Return to Forever" and "Light as a Feather". 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 music¹s most in demand percussionists. His collection of instruments, along with his knack for playing the right sound at the right moment, has made him the first choice of many producers and bandleaders. 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 contributionsalt 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 critic¹s 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 Station¹s 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 also contributed to another Grammy Award winning ensemble, "Dizzy Gillespie¹s United Nations Orchestra", which received the award for Best Live Jazz Album. Airto¹s 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 Jose Rosa Moreira, who was a spiritual healer all of his life. 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. Airto also composed and performed his "Brazilian Spiritual Mass" for a two hour special on German television, with the WDR Philharmonic Orchestra in Cologne, Germany. This rare performance was reproduced on Vinyl for the classical record label "Harmonia Mundi" and licensed as a video by WDR, broadcast around the world. Most recently Airto performed as a guest star with the Boston Pops Philharmonic Orchestra on a special for the PBS TV, the Smashing Pumpkins "Unplugged" for MTV, the Japan based percussion group Kodo and Depeche Mode¹s latest CD "Exciter". In 2001 when Airto recorded with Kodo, he contributed with two of his compositions: "Maracatu" and "Berimbau Jam". The 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. On Airto¹s recordings for Melt2000 "Killer Bees", features Herbie Hancock, Stanley Clarke, Chick Corea, Mark Egan and Hiram Bullock; it was one of the most critically acclaimed albums on the European market and was followed by a remix project bu Tony Thorpe entitled "Revenge of the Killer Bees".

 
 

His solo album entitled "Homeless", on Melt2000 was released in the year 2000. It is a high-energy album with "tribal" rhythms that is shaking the dance floors around the world. 4 more releases with Airto on MELT include his group "Fourth World" with Jose Neto and Flora Purim. Airto also performed on a number of MELT recordings such as Tuvan throat singer Boris Salchack's album Shaman and immensely powerful singer and percussionist Ricky Randimbiarison from Madagascar. Productions for MELT include the South African Outernational Meltdown recordings in 1994 and the debut album of BBC Jazz award winner Byron Wallen - hailed as one of Miles successors. 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 on the Revenge of the Killer Bees album. 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, Brazil¹s 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 Barão 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 great 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. Currently he divides 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. Airto¹s latest album, "Life After That" was released on Narada Records on September 30th, 2003. Visit Airto's website at: http://www.airto.com