Friday, January 22, 2016

Luis Muñoz - Voz (2015)

Percussionist/keyboardist Luis Muñoz has produced an elegant album of nine original songs. You wouldn't think this was a drummer's album, though, because of his sparing use of his own instrument, with the accent on almost chamber music settings. Indeed, he does not even play on either ""Journey of Saint Augustine" (a lovely instrumental with bass, guitar and trumpet only), nor the final three songs. The opening track "Preludio y Fin" is a case in point. Magos Herrera's soft, breathy voice, along with Adam Asarnow's delicate piano, is all that's heard for the first minute-and-a-half. It's not until "Pasión," the fifth song, that there's more overt rhythmic work, a lilting Brazilian piece with Téka Penterich singing. One song, the lilting "Quisiera," features Chilean singer Claudia Acuña, perhaps the best known of the three singers here. The album closes with the delicate "Amanecer Luminosa." with Herrera singing the poetry of Osvaldo Sauma (National Poetry Award Winner 2014 in Costa Rica), set to music by Muñoz. This is an album of beauty and spirit. I wish there had been a lyric sheet translating the songs into English, but their emotional content shines through my language barrier.

Preludio y Fin
Journey Of Saint Augustine
Testamento/Más Allá
Amamecer Luminoso

Luis Muñoz: drums, percussion, keyboard, melodica
Jonathan Dane: trumpet, flugelhorn
Brendan Statom: acoustic bass
Magos Herrera: lead vocals (1, 3, 6, 9)
Ramses Araya: bongo, congas (2)
Tom Etchart: electric bass (2) acoustic bass (6)
Ron Kalina: chromatic harmonica (2, 5)
Lois Mahalia: vocals (2)
Téka Penteriche: lead vocals (2, 5, 8)
Narciso Sotomayor: electric guitar (2)
Andy Zuñiga: vocals (2)
Adam Asarnow: piano (3, 5, 9)
Daniel Zimmerman: acoustic guitar (4, 7)
Jana Anderson: vocals
Chris Judge: acoustic guitar (5, 6, 8)
Victor Marten: vocals
Randy Tico: bass (5)
Kevin Winard: percussion (5)
George Friedenthal: piano (6)
Claudia Acuña: lead vocal (8)

Released September 15, 2015