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.
1. Mad Bop (L. Mu
Accordion: Brian Mann (2,4,5). Acoustic guitar: Gilberto Gonz