Luis Muñoz

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Keyboardist Luis Muñoz composed nine originals for his fifth CD as a leader, varying the instrumentation to give the listener a diverse experience of modern and traditional Latin music, though often with a few twists. In "Luz del Sur," the infectious theme detours at times to a modified mariachi setting, where Jonathan Dane's trumpet is complemented by John Nathan's marimba and Bill Flores' pedal steel guitar. Guest alto saxophonist David Binney fits in perfectly in Muñoz's world, appearing in the lively "Sobrevivencia." The leader even throws in a twist or two. His contemporary gospel vocal number "Hymn" featuring singer Lois Mahalia in a decidedly non-Latin setting, while the leader sits out the bittersweet ballad "Esperanza," which showcases classical guitarist Chris Judge (who overdubs a second line in spots) and bassist Tom Etchart. Wrapping the session is the elegant "Tango y Sangre de la Media Noche," featuring violinist Laura Hackstein, while Muñoz adds a bit of background color by overdubbing an alto flute and a synth line through a pad. Luis Muñoz's refreshing approach to Latin music should win him a wider audience.

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