Thursday, June 30, 2011

Airto Moreira - Misa Espiritual: Airto's Brazilian Mass (1984)

Here's another oddity. This LP seems to be all-but-forgotten. I picked this up for five bucks in Red Eye a few years ago. I was on a big Airto kick after seeing him in the great  DVD documentary about Miles Davis's Isle of Wight Concert. I was seeking out his excellent early albums on CTI and Buddah, along with his collaborations with his wife, Flora Purim.

What? Airto with Gil Evans? I'm there! The results are not quite what I expected (actually, I didn't really know what to expect) but it's a bit of a grower. It veers between Morricone-like string and choral arrangements, hot big-band jazz, Brazilian percussive outfreakage and some stuff that sounds like some of Zappa's early dissonant pieces with the Mothers.

I'm not too sure what Evans's contribution was, exactly. He's credited as "Musical Director," and Marcos Silva and Airto with the arrangements and orchestrations. Maybe Gil conducted the band or helped out with the arrangements. I guess his name on the sleeve might have moved a few more records too. The band in question is the WDR Big Band, featuring a few names that are familiar to me: namely Philip Catherine on guitar and Trilok Gurtu on percussion.

There's scant information about the album on Airto's website and it seems to be entirely absent from his All Music Guide discography. As far as I know it was never released on CD, so it remains a bit of an obscurity.

Recorded at WDR Studios, Cologne.
Produced by Heiner Müller-Adolphi

A1: Entróito (8:31)
A2: Kyrie (8:12)
B1: Gloria (11:28)
B2: Comunhão Finis (7:52)

All titles composed by Airto Moreira.
Arranged and orchestrated by Marcos Silva and Airto Moreira.
Musical Director: Gil Evans

Airto Moreira: vocals, percussion.
With the WDR Big Band and WDR strings.

Harmonia Mundi, Germany, 1984. Cat # HM 663

320kbps mp3
Sorry folks, I have misplaced the lossless version of this. Will post it again if I find it.

Well, blow me down. There's a wobbly old taped TV performance of this on the YTs...

...with some sort of explanatory introduction. However my Portuguese is not really up to snuff so I am none the wiser.