Luis Muñoz, “Secrecy,” from The Dead Man
On this outing, multi-instrumentalist, composer and arranger Luis Muñoz — a native of Costa Rica and longtime resident of Santa Barbara, California — is the music world’s equivalent of a master chef concocting an unconventional fusion of disparate flavors. Drawing from influences throughout the Western hemisphere, his small ensemble embraces the beauty of plaintive melodies while infusing them with rhythmic textures drawn from Afro-Caribbean traditions, tango and rock. The Dead Man is a triumph of exquisitely crafted performances that both challenge and soothe the senses. —Mark Holston
The album highlight “Secrecy” exemplifies Muñoz’s omnivorous appetite. The song is a mélangeof styles and strategies, mixing crunchy, power-driven rock chords into a mist of fluttering bass and soaring trumpet. The contrast of moods creates a constant sense of motion, and it’s a thrill to hear the ensemble shift gears between Latin, classical and free-jazz sounds with equal precision. Muñoz has many instruments in his arsenal, but here he’s playing drums, and his light yet authoritative touch is the glue that holds everything together.
Feature photo courtesy Bob Barry Joazzography