Airto Moreira was born in 1941 in the small village of Itaiopolis - south Brasil, and was raised in Curitiba. Even before he could walk he would start shaking and banging on the floor every time the radio played a hot song. This worried his mother, but his grandmother recognized his potential and encouraged him to express himself. By the time he was six years old he had won many music contests by singing and playing percussion. The city gave him his own radio program every Saturday afternoon. At thirteen he became a professional musician, playing percussion, drums, and singing in local dance bands. He moved to Sao Paulo at the age of sixteen and performed regularly in nightclubs and television as a percussionist, drummer and singer.
In 1965 he met the singer Flora Purim in Rio de Janeiro. Flora moved to the USA in 1967 and Airto followed her shortly after. When in New York Airto began playing with musicians such as Reggie Workman, JJ Johnson, Cedar Walton and bassist Walter Booker. It was through Booker that Airto began playing with the greats - Cannonball Adderley, Lee Morgan, Paul Desmond and Joe Zawinul,
to name a few. Zawignul recommended Airto to Miles Davis for a recording session in 1970 for the “Bitches Brew” album. Davis then invited Airto to join his group, which included such jazz icons as Wayne Shorter, Dave Holland, Jack DeJohnette, Chick Corea and later John McLaughlin and Keith Jarrett. He remained with Miles for two years, and appears on such releases as “Live/Evil”, “Live at the Fillmore”, “On the Corner”, “The Isle of Wight”, “Bitches Brew” and later releases including the “Fillmore Sessions”.