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Luis Munoz: Vida (2004)

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Luis Munoz: Vida How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Vida is the latest offering from Costa Rican percussionist and composer Luis Muñoz. The music within is lush and inviting, gliding gracefully over an almost constantly moving stream of bubbling percussion. Throughout, Muñoz impresses as much with his arrangements and orchestrations as he does with his instrumental prowess and compositions.

With a tight, multi-part construction, the opening "Mad Bop recalls late period Weather Report, especially when Randy Tico's fretless bass cuts through the mix. "Seveneves boasts some novel instrumentation, opening with lilting phrases from Bill Flores' pedal steel guitar before winding its way to some near Middle Eastern-sounding violin work from Charlie Bisharat. It's a bold musical transition that never seems anything but logical when you are listening to it. Elsewhere, "Between Birth And Dying features a more stripped-down ensemble in which piano, violin, cello, and accordion seem to debate some weighty issues. The violin and cello have more gravitas, but the wit of the accordion renders it the final word.

There is a deep and feverish imagination at work throughout Vida, revealing itself in unexpected instrumentation and twisting arrangements that blur whatever genre DNA runs through the compositions. It should be added with emphasis that the album is a lot of fun, to a certain degree because you have no idea what is coming next.

Track Listing: Mad Bop; Journey Of Saint Augustine; Seveneves; Between Birth And Dying; Carmesi; Myth And Resurrection; Pasion; Mercedes En Reposo; Palito; Los Ojos De La Ausencia

Personnel: Luis Muoz-timbales, shekere, clave, cymbals, piano, synthesizer pizz, organ, bongo, bells, guira, cajon, caxixi; Adam Asarnow-piano; Tom Buckner-tenor, alto, soprano saxophone, bass clarinet; Jonathan Dane-trumpet; George Friedenthal-synthesizer; Lorenzo Martinez-guiro; Randy Tico-bass; Kevin Winard-congas, bata; Nico Abondolo-acoustic bass; Ron Kalina-chromatic harmonica; Chris Judge-acoustic guitar; Brian Mann-accordion; Charlie Bisharat-violin; Bill Flores-pedal steel guitar; Andrew Smith-cello; Adolfo Acosta-trumpet; Jana Anderson-background vocals; Victor Marten-background vocals; Teka Penteriche-lead vocals; Bruce Bigheno-montuno; Gilberto Gonzalez-guitars; John Nathan-marimbas

Record Label: Pelín Music

Style: Latin/World


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