Airto Moreira
Moreira in concert in 2007
Background information
Birth nameAirto Guimorvan Moreira
Born (1941-08-05) August 5, 1941 (age 80)
Itaiópolis, Brazil
GenresJazz, jazz fusion, Brazilian jazz, pop, baião
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 Guimorvan Moreira (born August 5, 1941)[1] is a Brazilian jazz drummer and percussionist.[2] He is married to jazz singer Flora Purim, and their daughter Diana Moreira is also a singer.[2] Coming to prominence in the late 1960s as a member of the Brazilian ensemble Quarteto Novo, he moved to the United States and worked in jazz fusion with Miles Davis and Return to Forever.


Airto Moreira was born in Itaiópolis, Brazil,[1] 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.[2] Shortly after, he followed his wife Flora Purim to the United States.

After moving to the US, Moreira studied with Moacir Santos in Los Angeles.[3] He then moved to New York where he began playing regularly with jazz musicians, including the bassist Walter Booker. Through Booker, Moreira began playing with Joe Zawinul, who in turn introduced him to Miles Davis.[1] 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.[1] Moreira was to participate in several of the most important projects of this emerging musical form.[1] He stayed with Davis for about two years, touring and participating in the creation of the seminal fusion recording Bitches Brew (1970).[4]

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).[1] 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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[2]

In addition to jazz concerts and recordings, he has composed and contributed music to film and television (including scores for Apocalypse Now[1] and Last Tango in Paris), played at the re-opening of the Library of Alexandria, Egypt[5] (along with fellow professor of ethnomusicology Halim El-Dabh[6]), 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 has played pandeiro, cuica, congas, bongos, shekere, talking drum, tambourine, maracas, shaker, triangle, cowbell, 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-hat, sleigh bells, agogo bells, guiro, marimba, castanets and beat box.[7][8]



As leader

With Sambalanco Trio

As sideman

With Cannonball Adderley

With Gato Barbieri

With Stanley Clarke

With Chick Corea

With Miles Davis

With Paul Desmond

With George Duke

With David Friesen

With Stan Getz

With Astrud Gilberto

With Johnny Hammond

With Mickey Hart

With Freddie Hubbard

With Bob James

With Antonio Carlos Jobim

With Hubert Laws

With Duke Pearson

With Flora Purim

With Wayne Shorter

With Paul Simon

With Stanley Turrentine

With Grover Washington Jr.

With others


See also



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 1749. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b c d e Yanow, Scott. "Airto Moreira". AllMusic. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  3. ^ Feather, Leonard (1987). The encyclopedia of jazz in the seventies. New York: Da Capo Press. p. 49. ISBN 978-0-306-80290-4.((cite book)): CS1 maint: date and year (link)
  4. ^ "M.E.L.T. 2000 artist's bio". Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  5. ^ "Europe Jazz Network Bio". September 30, 2003. Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  6. ^ 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
  7. ^ "Airto Moreira | Credits". AllMusic. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  8. ^ "Airto Moreira". Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  9. ^ "Downbeat Magazine: check the years mentioned". Archived from the original on September 27, 2011. Retrieved October 22, 2011.
  10. ^ "VIEW Listing". Retrieved October 22, 2011.