Lessons in lightor, in Spanish, luzlush arrangements need not be dense, as proven in Costa Rican-born Californian Luis Muñoz's compositions, orchestrations and arrangements on Luz
, his sixth release for the Pelin label following the widely acclaimed Invisible
(Pelin, 2010) and Of Soul And Shadow
While his roots go back to Central America, this release bears a folkish Americana, one that absorbs influences and styles from every musician with whom Muñoz interacts. From the shortest, simplest melody of "Entra El Mar Y La Tristeza," played on guitar and marimba, to the percussion charged "El Sendero De Las Aves," which mates drummer Carlomagno Araya, bata drummer Ramses Araya, and Muñoz's West African shereke gourd with a Latin bebop horn section, the percussionist/pianist keeps things snappily simple. Muñoz's influences gather sounds from many continents and several islands. "Amarilis" could easily be mistaken for a Cuban jazz composition from pianist Chucho Valdes
, that draws from a Spanish legacy, mixing violin, piano and trumpet.
The three vocal tracks, "El Sueño De Adán," "Al Silencio," and "Testamento/Mas Allá" come across as sumptuous without sounding opulent. Here, Muñoz's ability to absorb cultures and reproduce with empathy is the kicker. "Invisible" could be mistaken for a bit of guitarist Bill Frisell
's Americana, with Jonathan Dane's cornet shadowed by the Western feel of Bill Flores' pedal steel guitar. Even the short (1:37) "Preludio" delivered as a quasi-classical chamber piece bears an accent.
Track Listing: El Sueño de Adán; Invisible; Amarilis; Al Silencio; El Sendero de las Aves; Vals de la
Luz; Preludio; Testamento/Mas Alla; Entre El Mar y la Tristeza.
Personnel: Luis Muñoz: drums, percussion, background vocals, piano (2-6); Adam Asarnow: piano
(1-3, 6); George Friedenthal: piano (4- 8); Tom Etchart: acoustic bass; Jonothan Dane:
trumpet, cornet (2); Téka Penteriche: lead vocal (1, 4); Magos Herrera: lead vocal (8);
Bill Flores: pedal steel guitar (2); Laura Hackenstein: violin (3); Narciso Sotomayor:
acoustic guitar (3); Carlomagno Araya: drums (5); Ramses Araya: bata drums (5); Tom
Buckner: tenor sax (5); Christopher Judge: acoustic guitar (6, 8); Gilberto Gonzalez:
acoustic guitar (9); John Nathan: marimba (9).
| Year Released: 2013
| Record Label: Pelin Music