The most high-profile percussionist of the 1970s and still among the most famous, Airto Moreira (often simply known by his first name) helped make percussion an essential part of many modern jazz groups; his tambourine solos can border on the amazing.
Airto originally studied guitar and piano before becoming a percussionist. He played locally in Brazil, collected and studied over 120 different percussion instruments, and in 1968 moved to the U.S. with his wife, singer Flora Purim. Airto played with Miles Davis during part of 1969-1970, appearing on several records (most notably Live Evil). He worked with Lee Morgan for a bit in 1971, was an original member of Weather Report, and in 1972 was part of Chick Corea's initial version of Return to Forever with Flora Purim; he and Corea also recorded the classic Captain Marvel with Stan Getz. By 1973, Airto was famous enough to have his own group, which was signed to CTI and appeared on Purim's sessions. Since then he has stayed busy, mostly co-leading bands with his wife and recording as a leader for many labels, including Buddah, CTI, Arista, Warner Bros., Caroline, Rykodisc, In & Out, and B&W. Not all of his music as a leader would be called jazz, but Airto remains a very impressive player. ~ Scott Yanow