"LIKE" us on Facebook

UPCOMING GIGS!!!

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! 

MORE GREAT NEWS ABOUT MY "LUZ" CD AS A NEW YEAR BEGINS:

****"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

Luis Munoz Radio

Join our Email List!

Please join us and we will keep you posted on all our latest!

Let's be Friends

"LUZ" CD AVAILABLE EVERYWHERE NOW!!

"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!

credits

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

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

 "In my Top 5 CDs for 2013!!" Felix Contreras, NPR Jazz 

 

"BEST LATIN JAZZ ALBUM OF THE YEAR, 2013"         
W Royal Stokes (JAZZ JOURNALISTS ASSOCIATION)

TOP 25 (#10) LATIN JAZZ CDs OF THE YEAR!!! 

 8th ANNUAL JAZZ CRITICS POLL 2013

It is the simple and sheer beauty of the melodic musicality of Luis Muñoz that is so powerful that these qualities captivate the senses. It is not as if Mr. Muñoz’s music is simplistic or sentimental; it is just that his melodies seem to be inspired by an extraordinary soul.

They are so stripped down yet brimful with ornate lines that can only come from a beautiful mind. It is clear that Mr. Muñoz is that mind. Moreover, he is made completely of music, as some of the finest classicists are. His musical charts are little snapshots of the stunning splendour of nature; of relationships that flourish in its bounty and the blithe spirit of a humanity that thrives there. In this regard Mr. Muñoz is somewhat romantic, but his romance is also informed by the elemental ache of loneliness and solitude; the brittleness of love as much as it also reflects the depth of its emotions and its ability to rise above struggle; of human triumph in an almost rural setting. All of this might suggest that Luis Muñoz is a musician of archaic values, but this is not true at all.

It is clear from the music on Luz that Luis Muñoz inhabits universe that is full of the brightness and the fundamental belief that life is beautiful, in joy and pain. His music reflects that certainty. In its most elemental state his music is glacial and reflective of the inner workings of someone who is eternally optimistic. This is of course, just one angle to his extraordinary music. In the gentleness of his rhythms and the water-colours of his harmonic palette there is a multi-dimensionality that also makes him a deep thinker; an intellectual musician who just so happens to be able to inhabit many dimensions at once. Perhaps this is why his music has a spectral quality to it, where gorgeous lines that flow ever forward seem to emanate from and suggest a hidden dimension that runs deep and carries a vivid force that can only be felt, and heard not obviously, but suggestively. His simple lines of melody quiver with harmonic depth and always seem to swell in that fourth dimension mesmerising the mind of the listener who continually hears something ghostly and beautiful lurking in almost every note.

This record is all about aspects of light—a subject that is perfect for someone with Mr. Muñoz’s sensibilities. His heart is in the Costa Rica of his ancestors, he has been living in America—in that part of the continent that has given him and his music a certain swing and swagger; it is as if the sinkit has somehow found its way like an invisible element into a certain west-coast cool. This magnificent melange is also coloured by native calypso and the rhythms are so refined and polished that most of the folksy aspects of these are vivid, but only suggested, as the music winds its way up and down a monumentally long and winding road. The gentle ebb and flow and the swelling rise and fall of rhythms is beautifully displayed in charts such as “El Sueño De Adán,” in “El Sendero De Las Aves,” in “Vals De La Luz” and, of course in the bittersweet “Entre El Mar Y La Tristeza”.

As a percussionist, Luis Muñoz fits his music like a silken glove. His performances are so svelte and his drumming, while suggestive of all that is wild and carefree is also most refined and sophisticated. Few percussionists can claim to capture the rhythms that are audible in the human spectrum of sound as those that can only be imagined. Yet Mr. Muñoz makes this seem utterly easy and also magically palpable as well. His piano playing is marvellous, but never overdone. This is why he hands over the management of that instrument to two other fine musicians, Adam Asarnow and George Friedenthal. The contributions of these two musicians are enormous as is that of bassist, Tom Etchart, who adds more than rhythm; an extraordinary palette of harmonic colours and tone textures as well. So do the other musicians especially the two fine vocalists, Téka Pentariche and Magos Herrera, who bring a certain sultry beauty to this absolutely unforgettable record.

Tracks: El Sueño De Adán; Invisible; Amarilis; Al Silencio; El Sendero De Las Aves; Vals De La Luz; Preludio; Testamento/Mas Allá; Entre El Mar Y La Tristeza.

Personnel: Adam Asarnow: piano (1 – 3 and 6); George Friedenthal: piano (4 – 8); Tom Etchart: acoustic bass ( 1 – 7); Luis Muñoz: percussion (1, 8), drums (2, 4), piano (2 – 4); Carlomagno Araya: drums (5); Ramsés Araya: batá drums (5); John Nathan: marimba (9); Téka Pentariche: vocals (4), lead vocals (1), background vocals (1); Magos Herrera: vocals (8); Jonathan Dane: trumpet (2, 3, 5, 7); Tom Buckner: tenor saxophone (5); Bill Flores: pedal steel guitar (2); Laura Hackstein: violin(3); Narciso Sotomayor: acoustic guitar (3); Christopher Judge: acoustic guitars (6, 8); Gilberto González: acoustic guitar (9).

Luis Muñoz on the Web: www.luismunoz.net

Label: Pelin Music

Release date: January 2013

Reviewed by: Raul da Gama

Luis Munoz: Luz (2013)

By  Published: February 15, 2013

Luis Munoz: Luz

Luis Muňoz's Luz is an unabashedly romantic paean to Latin music in its various guises. There is, however, nothing syrupy in this enchanting seventh release for the Costa Rican composer and percussionist, replete with "jazzy" creative spontaneity.

Muňoz's impressionistic compositions are carefully arranged around a central theme, allowing adequate space to spotlight individual side musicians. The exquisite tango "Amarilis" features violinist Laura Hackstein's wistfully passionate strings as she plays the head with Astor Piazzolla-like flair. Pianist Adam Asarnow's lilting solo embellishes the melody with intelligent musical twists while maintaining its integrity. Trumpeter Jonathan Dane's burnished yet dark tone blows over the scene like an autumnal breeze.

Dane, having played behind many a vocalist and being one himself, anticipates and properly reacts to singer Magos Herrerra evocative articulation of the lush ballad "Testamento/Mas Alla." This haunting piece, with samba rhythms, is dedicated to Muňoz's wife, Holly Ann. Muňoz's own atmospheric percussion and pianist George Friedenthal's sparse notes frame Herrerra's elegant delivery and sensual voice. Dane's dusky, cool horn is in perfect contrast to Herrerra's ardent writing.

Muňoz also showcases the uniquely talented guitarist and songstress Téka Penteriche. The Sao Paolo native's honeyed and smoky vocals and expressive interpretation give the bossa nova "Al Silencio" an engaging and mysterious feel. Muňoz's own brushed drums and Friedenthal's careful utilization of silence and sound further enhance the ambience.

Friedenthal's short, unaccompanied sonata, "Preludio," is intensely lyrical and deeply contemplative. His edgy approach contrasts nicely with Asarnow's more flowing lines as the two take turns soloing on the sublime waltz, "Vals de la Luz," which also highlights guitarist Christopher Judge's classically influenced improvisations, while Gilberto González (another guitarist) closes this delightful record on a high note with his Mexican folk-inspired duet with marimba virtuoso John Nathan.

With this sublime and intriguing work, Muňoz not only demonstrates his adroitness as a composer and a bandleader but also his skill at recognizing and nurturing talent.

Track Listing: El Sueño De Adán; Invisible; Amarilis; Al Silencio; El Sendero De Las Aves; Vals De La Luz; Preludio; Testamento/Mas Allá; Entre El Mar Y La Tristeza.

Personnel: Luis Munoz: percussion, piano, vocals, drums; Magos Herrerra: voice; Teka Penteriche: voice; Jonathan Dane: trumpet, cornet; Tom Buckner: tenor saxohone; Gilberto Gonzalez: guitar; Bill Flores: guitar; Christopher Judge: guitar; Narciso Sotomayor: guitar; Adam Asarnow: piano; George Friedenthal: piano; John Nathan: marimba; Laura Hackstein: violin; Tom Etchart: bass; Carlomagno Araya: drums; Ramses Araya: bata drums.

Record Label:Pelin Music
Style: Latin/World

Luis Muñoz

Luz

THIS GLISTENING, SENSUOUS JOURNEY OF AN ALBUM REFLECTS BOTH THE SOPHISTICATION AND DIRECTNESS OF A WORLD-CLASS COMPOSER!!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

This glistening, sensuous journey of an album reflects both the sophistication and directness of a world-class composer. Luis Muñoz was born in Costa Rica, but he has made Santa Barbara his home for several decades now, and the music on Luz, his latest and best recording, transcends categories, uniting Latin, jazz, and even touches of classical in nine original compositions, each of which stands as a remarkable achievement. Play the blindfold game with this one, and your friends are likely to produce a litany of truly great artists — “Is it Miles Davis? Wayne Shorter? Or Gilberto Gil?” No. It’s Luis Muñoz, and one day, at least among music lovers, that name ought to be remembered just as well.

CD/LP/Track Review

LUIS MUNOZ CHARMS AND STIMULATES ON THIS BEGUILING ALBUM!!

 

  

Luis Muñoz: Luz (2013)

By  Published: March 2, 2013
Luis Muñoz: Luz

Luis Muñoz gathers strength with each of his recordings as he goes past the post of the previous one, making new ideas and developments his haunt. Luz, as the title would suggest, injects new light into his music.

Muñoz conceives and marvelous executes his game plan. Driving the rhythm and the beat from the drummer's seat he opens up new vistas for his band. Form and genre are enveloped brilliantly as a spectrum fed by an enlightened blend of instruments and groupings of musicians.

Luz stuns from the moment the shimmering glow shines upon "El Sueño De Adán." The ballad is swept into the emotional robes of singer Téka Penteriche, whose pith and intonation give the song a distinctive soul. The mood is enhanced by Adam Asarnov, on piano, and Muñoz, two crucial elements which add to the collective attainment.

Singer Magos Herrera shows off her depth and her ability to shed light on nuance on "Testamento/Mas Alla" which Muñoz wrote for his wife. It's turned into a loving testament not only by Herrera but also by the warm intonation of pianist Jonathan Dane and Muñoz's sensitive percussion.

The guitar has played an integral role in Latin American music, and its presence is both earthy and ethereal on "Vals De La Luz." Christopher Judge's tone is pure and his notes clean on acoustic guitar. His vocabulary is fermented by an interpretive zeal that takes the music into heady, absorbing realms, making this one of the top tracks on the CD.

Muñoz charms and stimulates on this beguiling album.

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).

Record Label: Pelin Music
Style: Latin/World

Akin to wind and rain, music can no longer be confined or characterized by geography; it knows no borders and wanders free. In the case of Latin America, music has gone full circle in that jazz musicians initially sought inspiration and ideas from the United States, but are now realizing that their own regional cultures can be an encouraging source from which to to draw. Costa Rican-born Luis Muñoz—an award winning drummer, arranger, composer, and producer—is one that has never strayed far from his roots. Though he has studied, performed and recorded in the States, with the release of Luz, he further endeavors to compose music based on Hispanic influences, while weaving elements of improvisation masterfully into the mix.

The music on Luz was composed with the concept of illumination in mind— not necessarily the literal translation, but the more spiritual connotation. Muñoz deftly creates a perceptible sense of tranquility interlaced with romantic sensuality, which is prerequisite in Latin music. This is obvious with his choice of Brazilian vocalist Téka Penteriche, who sings "El Sueño de Adán" and "Al Silencio," and Mexican songstress Magos Herrera, featured on "Testamento/Mas Alla." These are smoldering ballads singed with Jonathan Dane's melancholic trumpet. Dane must be given further recognition for his muted cornet on "Invisible," and his soaring trumpeting on "El Sendero de las Aves," which is an Afro-Caribbean number complete with authentic bata drums.

There is a mysterious convocation of the tango in "Amarilis," where violinist Laura Hackstein sets the perfect mood for pianist Adam Asarnow to enhance the extended dance, graced by a gaucho-colored trumpet. This track is perfectly situated in the center of the record as if a melodious summit has to be reached in order to continue on the forgiving journey. Another highlight is the waltz "Vals de la Luz," which displays a smooth interaction of classical guitar and pianos. On this song Asarnow shares solo duties with fellow pianist George Friedenthal, with Muñoz adding a soft background track.

Muñoz is a sophisticated composer who researched and rehearsed his material well, and conveys a populist approach to his music while maintaining a flair for elegance. Luz is a comfortable record, an indication of a relaxed production, evidence to the adage of doing what you know best..

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).

"LUZ" is an understated celebration of light and lightness, and a fine addition to Mr. Muñoz's impressive body of recorded work."   Josef Woodard 

The Costa Rica native and bonafide composition master is capable of dishing out one stunningly romantic album after the next, it seems. Just take LUZ, Muñoz’s latest studio offering. The album, which draws comparison to both Miles Davis and Gilberto Gil at points, is a lush and melodic survey in Latin jazz that finds Muñoz at the top of his game, both in fluidity and style. 

Luis Muñoz creates a dreamy world of exquisite, intellectually inquisitive music on Luz!   Mark Holston/Latino Magazine


"A true romantic who charts his own stylistic course with little concern for the conventions of the day, Costa Rican multi-instrumentalist and composer Luis Muñoz creates a dreamy world of exquisite, intellectually inquisitive music on Luz (Pelin Music). Always slightly under the radar screen of the music establishment, Muñoz dares to take a truly different path, focusing on serene themes and sparse arrangements featuring such unconventional instruments to the style as a pedal steel guitar, violin, muted cornet and marimba. Although he’s a top-flight percussionist, he keeps the rhythmic heat on a low simmer, allowing the lustrous melodies to disarm the listener with their inherent charm. At times Luz has an almost folksy quality. Those thirsting for something new can’t miss with this latest masterwork from Muñoz". Mark Holston/Latino magazine

http://www.latinomagazine.com/

TOP 25 (#10) LATIN JAZZ CDs OF THE YEAR!!!