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Luis Munoz: Invisible

Paul J. Youngman By

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Invisible is the fifth release on the Pelin label from multi-instrumentalist and bandleader Luis Munoz, who also composed, arranged and orchestrated its nine tracks. The style is Afro-Latin jazz, featuring plenty of percussion instruments, many of them played by the leader. Latin rhythms underlay the contemporary sounding songs in an upbeat and catchy style. The majority of the songs feature excellent instrumentation and arrangements that make for an exciting listen.

There is a distinct flow to the album, from one song to the next a feeling of floating, or riding a wave of constant sound. Trumpeter Jonathan Dane introduces"Luz Del Sur" with eerie muted tones, building the dynamic around a mariachi-like marimba melody. The song—reminiscent of an Ennio Morricone composition from his Spaghetti Western period—breaks open in starts and stops, galloping to a grand finale punctuated by Dane's screaming trumpet.

"Hymn" takes on a gospel feel and adds generous measures of pop, soul and R&B sensibilities, its vocals heart-driven by soulful singer, Lois Mahalia. Munoz takes over on piano and lays down grand chords in glorious harmony with the singer.

David Binney rips on "Sobrevivencia," its open-ended, syncopated rhythm revolving around the altoist's imaginative runs. An orchestra of percussionists adds fine accompaniment, helping to create a feeling of urgency.

Invisible is a solid outing for Munoz, and a showcase for his abilities as a versatile producer and a multi-talented musician, full of creativity.

Track Listing: Adam's Dream; Luz del Sur; Sobrevivencia; Hymn; De Alma y Sombra; Malabarista; Esperanza; Manantial; Tango y Sangre de la Media Noche.

Personnel: Luis Muñoz: piano (1-4, 6, 9), Fender Rhodes (8), synthesizer (1), drums (1, 2, 4-6, 8), cajón (1, 2), caxixi (1, 2), bombo legüero (1, 2), djembe (1), chekere (2, 3), percussion (3, 6, 8), tama (3), alto flute (9), pad (9); Ramses Araya: bata drums (1, 3), cajó, cymbals, bongos (6, 8); Jonathan Dane: trumpet (1, 2, 6, 9); Jeff Elliott: trumpet (6); Tom Etchart: fretless bass (1, 6), electric bass (4, 8), acoustic bass (3, 5, 7, 9); George Friedenthal: piano ( 1, 2, 5), pad (2, 6,); Adam Asarnow: piano (3); Narisco Sotomayor: electric guitars (1, 8); Nico Abondolo: acoustic bass (2); Robert Clements: chekere (2); Bill Flores: pedal steel guitar (2); Gilberto González: acoustic guitar (2) John Nathan: marimba (2); David Binney : alto saxophone (3); Justin Claveria: tenor saxophone (6); Brad Dutz: quinto (3), percussion (3), marimba (6); Jimmy Calire: Hammond B3 Organ; Lois Mahalia: lead vocals (4), background vocals (4, 8); Chris Judge: acoustic guitar (5), classical guitar (7); Ron Kalina: chromatic harmonica (8); Teka Pendiriche: lead, background vocals (8); Andy Zúñiga: background vocals; Laura Hackstein: violin (9); George Quirin: acoustic guitar.

Title: Invisible | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Pelin Music

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