Released in 1974, Flora’s second Milestone set “Stories To Tell” was a bona fide classic. This time the group is based around the core of Duke, Moreira, guitarist Earl Klugh and conga player King Errisson, with Miroslav Vitous, Carlos Santana, Raul De Souza, Oscar Neves and others all playing important bit parts.
The opening title track is built on an incredibly funky groove over which Purim glides around the intricately beautiful melody improvising phrases lifted from songs written for Return To Forever. Cuts such as this and ‘Silver Sword’ with its fantastic guitar solo from Santana seem to define the funky fusion side of her musical vision. Her vocalisation of McCoy Tyner’s ‘Search For Peace’ shows an artist who can really sing jazz. The Brazilian songs on the album are fantastic, arranged in a fresh way that takes them apart from the original versions. ‘Vera Cruz’ has a distinctive arrangement that lifts the parts where the tempo is taken down, while Jobim’s ‘Insensatez’ is a million miles from the soft bossa standard it had become in the 1960s. The final track is a medley of the classic ‘O Cantador’ with ‘I Just Want To Be Here’, a number developed by the musicians in the studio that reflects how at ease they felt creating the music on this album. “Stories To Tell” cemented Flora’s reputation as one of the key vocalists of the era and she continued recording for Milestone throughout the 1970s, building up a body of work that continues to stand the test of time.
By Dean Rudland