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I've been  nominated (for the 3rd time) for an ACAM Award, for Jazz Composer/Producer of the Year, with my "LUZ" CD, in Costa Rica. ( I was lucky to win the first two times ).  

Production of an "all vocals"  CD has started.  14 tracks (6 previously released), in collaboration with 5 singers and  3 coauthors.  Claudia Acuña (Chile), Magos Herrera (México), Lois Mahalia (Guyana) and Téka Penteriche (Brazil) are some of the participant vocalists, plus Jaime Gamboa (Costa Rica), Luis Enrique Mejía Godoy(Nicaragua), Rómulo Castro (Panamá) and 2013 Costa Rican National Poetry award winner Osvaldo Sauma will be part of the "VOZ" CD, also to be released soon!!!!

I would like to publicly acknowledge and thank the “Belle Foundation for Cultural Development” for the Individual Grant that they so graciously granted me today.  It will be a big help in making both my Trio/Quartet recording and my “All Vocals” CD project a reality.   I am proud of this recognition and encouraged to continue to pursuit my artistic vision.  Thank you! 


****"TOP 5 CDs of The Year" Felix Contreras, NPR Jazz***

****"TOP 10 CDs OF THE YEAR" AND "BEST LATIN JAZZ CD OF THE YEAR" Mike West, Washington City Paper, JazzTimes Magazine***

***"BEST LATIN JAZZ CD OF THE YEAR" W Royal Stokes, Jazz Journalists Association*** 

  Thursday, October 9th we will be at The Marquee in Santa Barbara, from 8 to 11:00 PM. 1212 State St. Santa Barbara, CA 93101. (805) 560-0100.  FREE SHOW

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"LUZ", the new CD by Costa Rican composer Luis Muñoz,(two time ACAM Award Winner-Jazz Composer of the Year 2006 & 2011),is available everywhere now. The CD features Trumpeter Jonathan Dane, pianists George Friedenthal and Adam Asarnow, guitarrist Chris Judge and singers Téka Penteriche and Magos Herrera. It has been released on the Pelin Music Label. Please continue to visit us for the latest on Luis Muñoz!   Cheers!


Photography: Yvan Morin.  Art: "Virgin of Santa Fe" by Elaine LeVasseur

A gentle, relaxed feel does not necessarily define a CD as "smooth jazz," not when there are fine solos and real drums, as is the case here. This release by Costa Rican-born, California-based composer/drummer Luis Muñoz is companionable yet creative; there are no barn-burners, but there are enjoyable textures and occasional surprises. Compassion, his second effort for Fahrenheit Records, contains ten Muñoz originals that incorporate varied instrumental combinations and moods but are all Central American- or South American-inflected, melodic, and compactly arranged with style and flair. The travelogue includes stops in Brazil ("Romance," "Pasion"), the Andes ("Nicoya"), and the Caribbean ("Islands"). The standout composition is the title track, a ballad inspired by Argentinian tango master Astor Piazzolla that features the warm, soulful violin of Gilles Appap; the most ambitious is "Yiguro," where Muñoz musicially describes a fairy-tale dream he had. In fact, there's a distinctly soundtrack feel to much of this music, which may reflect Muñoz's two decades as a composer for film, TV, theater, and dance. (He has also backed Flora Purim and Airto, Etta James, and Jim Messina.) The CD has a reigning aura of gentle romance, which is enhanced by fine performances by pianist Adam Asarnow, acoustic guitarist Chris Judge, and flügelhorn player Jonathan Dane.

Luis Muñoz's freedom of expression on Compassion features a unique blend of rhythms and melodies from around the world, beautifully interpreted through an array of instruments including violins, vibes, accordion, acoustic guitar, chromatic harmonica and cello.

The world class drummer and percussionist has composed, arranged and orchestrated all of the music for this, his second release, with each song framing the elegance, grace, whimsical and romantic influences he has nurtured throughout his musical experience. "Romance," and "Pasión," are monuments of melody inspired by a romantic nature and his admiration and respect for Antonio Carlos Jobim.

Muñoz's use of a chromatic harmonica on " Pasión" to convey this sensuous emotion is highly original and reflects his talent to apply different colors and textures on his new canvas of creativity. Muñoz continues his freedom of expression with a story from his childhood surfacing on "Yigüirro," with the flute, piano and flugelhorn in lead roles.

Capturing the essence of a sensual night, a hot cha-cha ignites the set, then burns, simmers and creatively dims into a peaceful ballad on "The Sleep of The Innocent." Muñoz, through his use of an exotic, imaginative, paradoxical twist, reveals the Latin strength and vulnerability of "Monteverde," a majestic rainforest of the same name. Accompanied by Tom Buckner's sax, bassist Randy Tico and percussionist Brad Dutz, Muñoz conveys his emotional connection to the natural resources of his native Costa Rica.

The light-hearted "Nicoya," is a delightful, rhythmic romp through another aspect of his musical life while, "Compassion," the title track, is a beautiful arrangement for violin, bass and piano inspired by the great Argentinean composer Astor Piazzolla. This brilliant song has Adam Asarnow embracing the listener with a flowing, intuitive piano solo as string virtuoso, while Gilles Appap envelopes your heart in the rapture of his string eloquence. And Tico's understated bass lends just the right atmosphere to the trio's rhythmic sense. Compassion represents the next splendid phase of Luis Muñoz's career and is a brilliant display of his creativity and love of music. Enjoy!