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 songreminiscent of an Ennio Morricone composition from his Spaghetti Western periodbreaks 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.
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already
I was first exposed to jazz circa 1973, when I met a fellow who ran Kappy's Record Store over near 10th Ave., on 42nd St. in NYC. We really clicked and when I told him I played piano and went to Music & Art HS, and had just started at City College of NY as a music major, he asked if I liked jazz...I said yes but I didn't know much about it, but that I did have sheet music for many popular 1920's through 1940's tunes by noted composers (Porter; Gershwins; Irving Berlin; Rodgers & Hammerstein/Hart; Jerome Kern; Lerner & Loewe; etc.) that my mother had sung beautifully starting in the 1940's including tons of famous show tunes, and I played many of those songs already. SOOOO... he started me off LP's by Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Bud Powell, Errol Garner, Bill Evans, Monty Alexander, Charlie Byrd, and Dave Brubeck... does it get any better than that? ...No, it doesn't. I was hooked!!
I met and had a master class with the late music giant John Lewis, leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet! This was at CCNY in 1977. I was blessed! It was an incredible class... how could it have been anything else?!?!
The first jazz record I bought was...I bought numerous records from my friend at the record store, as mentioned above. He introduced me to nothing but music giants/legends! I think The Dave Brubeck Quartet, Greatest Hits, was actually the first one.
My advice to new listeners... study first--understand the rudiments--solfeggio, keys, scales, and basic chords. Read a book or take a class that includes the study of chord progressions, especially in jazz. It should ideally be a piano class so you can play multiple notes together. Have a good EAR or else it's not really worth it in my view...to become a musician, a good EAR for music is about as fundamental as breathing! Learn to read chord charts--i.e., lead sheets - wherein you play various voicings of the chords--major, minor, dominant 7th (alterations of these, you can learn over time - the basic chords are most important for starters), plus the melody, on the piano or keyboard. If you have to read the exact notes, then it's not the same as actually internalizing it & getting it all into your head. If you can do this, I think you're ready not only for listening to jazz, but understanding many concepts of it! Of course...anyone can listen to jazz... but I think it's so good to also have a grasp of it.