Airto Touching You, Touching Me Vinyl

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Many of Airto Moreira's records from the late 1970s and early '80s get an undeserved bad rap because of their obvious -- and intended -- commercial appeal. Though he came to prominence in America as a member of Miles Davis' early electric bands, Moreira was an established artist in Brazil; one who sought to marry the sounds of his nation's folk traditions with all kinds of popular music. 1979's Touching You...Touching Me was recorded during his Warner period, and is perhaps his most polished record. Self-produced, he learned much of the technique he employed from the best-selling recordings of the time in all pop genres. A large cast is involved here -- George Duke, Flora Purim, Joe Farrell, Herb Alpert, Alphonso Johnson, Peter Bunetta, Al Ciner, Bayete (Todd Cochrane), and Marcos Valle (who not only performed but helped Moreira with the charts). The sprightly, dancefloor-jazzy R&B of "Amajour" (with the Sweet Inspirations on backing vocals) opens the set, followed by the more MPB- tinged "Partido Alto," with killer vocals from Purim. "Heartbeat" is a showcase for Johnson, pianist Michel Colombier, and the synthesizer of Hugo Fattoruso. "Toque de Cuica" is Brazilian dancefloor funk, while "Move It On Up" opens like a slick hard rock anthem before it shifts into a reggae-infused groover -- Bayete and Farrell shine, but Moreira's vocal falls flat. One can hear Valle's influence on the funky "Tempos Atras (Dreams Are Real)" (his Rhodes playing is crystalline), which also features excellent, greasy clavinet work by Duke and a hip-shaking bassline from Johnson. The finest cut here is also the sparest. "It's Not a Ballad" places Purim's exquisite vocal inside a frame provided by Moreira's percussion, Rhodes from Jose Bertrame, and a lyrical soprano saxophone by Nivaldo Ornellas. Taken together as a lithe yet abstract whole, this tune recalls the vibe of the earliest Return to Forever sides. Touching You...Touching Me is not a perfect record, but it is an enjoyable one; its strengths far outweigh its weaknesses, and several of its tunes could easily be placed on a Moreira best-of compilation. ~ Thom Jurek

  • Format: Vinyl
  • Released: 5/25/2015
  • Genre: Electronic

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