Airto Moreira

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Airto Moreira
Airto Moreira.jpg
Moreira in concert in 2007
Background information
Birth nameAirto Guimorvan Moreira
Born (1941-08-05) August 5, 1941 (age 77)
Itaiópolis, Brazil
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, Brazilian jazz, pop
Occupation(s)Musician, bandleader, composer
InstrumentsDrums, percussion
Years active1954–present
LabelsOne Way, CTI, Arista, Warner Music Japan
Associated actsFlora Purim, Return to Forever, Miles Davis, Hermeto Pascoal, Heraldo do Monte

Airto Moreira (born August 5, 1941) is a Brazilian jazz drummer and percussionist.[1] He is married to jazz singer Flora Purim, and their daughter Diana Moreira is also a singer.[1]


Airto Moreira was born in Itaiópolis, Brazil, into a family of folk healers, and raised in Curitiba and São Paulo. Showing an extraordinary talent for music at a young age, he became a professional musician at age 13, noticed first as a member of the samba jazz pioneers Sambalanço Trio and for his landmark recording with Hermeto Pascoal in Quarteto Novo in 1967.[1] Shortly after, he followed his wife Flora Purim to the United States.

After moving to the US, Moreira began playing regularly with jazz musicians in New York, including the bassist Walter Booker. Through Booker, Moreira began playing with Joe Zawinul, who in turn introduced him to Miles Davis. At this time Davis was experimenting with electronic instruments and rock and funk rhythms, a form which would soon come to be called jazz fusion. Moreira was to participate in several of the most important projects of this emerging musical form, he stayed with Davis for about two years, touring and participating in the creation of the seminal fusion recording Bitches Brew (1970).[2]

Shortly after leaving Davis, Moreira joined other Davis alumni Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Miroslav Vitous in their group Weather Report, playing percussion on their first album (1971), he left Weather Report (replaced by Dom Um Romão and Muruga Booker for their Sweetnighter album) to join fellow Davis alumnus Chick Corea's new band Return to Forever. He played drums on Return to Forever's first two albums: Return to Forever and Light as a Feather in 1972.

Moreira was a contributor to many of Grateful Dead percussionist Mickey Hart's world music/percussion albums in Rykodisc's The World collection, including The Apocalypse Now Sessions, Dafos, Supralingua, and Planet Drum, which won a World Music Grammy in 1991,[1] he can be heard playing congas on Eumir Deodato's 1970s space-funk hit "Also sprach Zarathustra" on the album Prelude.

Moreira has played with many of the greatest names in jazz including Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, Paul Desmond, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, John McLaughlin, Keith Jarrett, Al Di Meola, Zakir Hussain, George Duke and Mickey Hart.[1]

In addition to jazz concerts and recordings, he has composed and contributed music to film and television (including scores for Apocalypse Now and Last Tango in Paris), played at the re-opening of the Library of Alexandria, Egypt[3] (along with fellow professor of ethnomusicology Halim El-Dabh[4]), and taught at UCLA and the California Brazil Camp.

In 1996, Moreira and his wife Flora Purim collaborated with P.M. Dawn on the song "Non-Fiction Burning" for the AIDS benefit album Red Hot + Rio, produced by the Red Hot Organization.


Moreira is known to play pandeiro, cuica, congas, bongos, shekere, talking drum, tambourine, maracas, shaker, triangle, cowbell,Metal Percussion instruments built by Pete Engelhart, caxixi, drums, Afoxé, tubular bells, snare drum, berimbau, temple blocks, ganza, surdo, bell tree, wood blocks, jam block, mark tree, cymbals, cabasa, bass drum, timbales, gong, tamborim, drum machine, vibraphone, djembe, floor tom, whistles, conch shell, tom-tom, bells, tabla, hi-hats, sleigh bells, agogo bells, guiro, marimba, castanets and beat box,[5][6][7] he is also a capable singer.


  • Moreira was voted the number one percussionist in "Down Beat Magazine's Critics Poll" for the years 1975 through 1982 and most recently in 1993.[8]
  • In September 2002, Brazil's President Fernando Henrique Cardoso added Moreira and Purim to the "Order of Rio Branco", one of Brazil's highest honors.


As leader[edit]

With Fourth World

As band member[edit]

With Quarteto Novo

As sideman[edit]

With Cannonball Adderley

With Antonio Carlos Jobim

With Jacob Anderskov

  • Ears to the Ground (2008)

With Gato Barbieri

With George Benson

With Kenny Burrell

With Donald Byrd

  • Kofi (1969)
  • Electric Byrd (1970)

With Hank Crawford

With Miles Davis

With Eumir Deodato

  • Prelude (CTI, 1973)
  • Deodato/Airto In Concert (CTI, 1974)

With Paul Desmond

With Al Di Meola

With Frank Foster

With Andreas Georgiou

  • Asate (2003)

With Stan Getz

With Astrud Gilberto

With Dizzy Gillespie

With Jim Hall

With Johnny Hammond

With Mickey Hart

With J. J. Johnson and Kai Winding

With Stephen Kent

  • Stephen Kent Live at Starwood (2005)

With Hubert Laws

With Edu Lobo

With Milton Nascimento

With Opa

  • Goldenwings (1976)

With Hermeto Pascoal

With Duke Pearson

With Flora Purim

With Return to Forever

With Lawson Rollins

With Santana

With Don Sebesky

With Buddy Terry

With Belinda Underwood

  • Underwood Uncurling (2005)

With Weather Report

With Randy Weston

With Dee Dee Bridgewater

With Joni Mitchell


  • 2006: Airto & Flora Purim: The Latin Jazz All-Stars[9]

See also[edit]


  • Mei, Giancarlo (2017). Spiriti Liberi. L'Avventura Brasiliana Di Flora Purim & Airto Moreira (official biography) (in Italian). Rome, Italy: Arcana Jazz. ISBN 978-8862319546.


  1. ^ a b c d e Yanow, Scott. "Airto Moreira". AllMusic. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  2. ^ "M.E.L.T. 2000 artist's bio". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  3. ^ "Europe Jazz Network Bio". September 30, 2003. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  4. ^ Seachrist, Denise A. (2003). The Musical World of Halim El-Dabh. Kent, Ohio, United States: Kent State University Press 296 pp ISBN 0-87338-752-X
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ "Downbeat Magazine: check the years mentioned". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  9. ^ "VIEW Listing". Retrieved October 22, 2011.

External links[edit]