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Luis Muñoz: Glimmering Path

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Luis Muñoz: Glimmering Path
Luis Muñoz in performance photographed by Bob Barry courtesy artist FB Page

After several highly celebrated recordings over the years, Luis Muñoz breaks fresh ground as a composer of breathtakingly lyrical music. On Glimmering Path, the drummer often vacates his drum chair to sit at the piano and a range of other keyboards.

This exquisitely pressed, limited edition [500 copies] audiophile vinyl, features a series of dreamy crepuscular narratives evocative of earth, and water rippling in the wind, and sky darkened, but only by love. Seemingly drawn to the elements Mr Muñoz has created eloquent tone poems featuring the gloriously dusky voice of long-time collaborator Lois Mahalia.

Glimmering Path: Luis Muñoz

Mr Muñoz’s music shows himself to be an individual voice of tremendous melodious poetry, integrity, and depth. An emotional world shines forth from his masterful sonic creations. Each song on Glimmering Path is an intimate but stirring account of life as the composer sees it.

Harmonic variations separate the music, often highlighted by muted brass [My Love and August], and woodwinds [En el Jardin de la Plenitad]. Strings, when called for come from moaning electric guitars [such as on Crescent Moon, for instance], and a pedal steel guitar [River of Love], the latter also features the heraldry of the Hammond B3 organ.

Then there is the small matter of Mr Muñoz on his principal instrument: the drums. His performance throughout the album is redolent of an idiosyncratic and exploratory style that mixes South American folk dancing motifs with inventive jazzy improvisation inflected by country music, bluegrass, and rock.

The drummer’s stoic pacifism shines on the masterfully written Lords of War. The music here is full of bitter sardonicism and is brilliantly voiced – guttral screams and all – by the iconic Miss Mahalia, who even manages to let her Gospel roots shine through as she recreates the heartache of death with imaginative interpretation of the rise of war and the painful and inevitable fall of humanity.

But always the focus is on “songfulness” highlighted by the melodicism of his drumming. The Three Seasons, on side B of this vinyl is an outstanding example of this. The drummer’s outsize melodic sensibility, extraordinary improvisations and exquisite lilting waltz-time romance blows through the song like a gentle wind, but with immaculate precision.

Like Miss Mahalia, the album also features bassists Randy Tico and Brendan Statom – names that followers of Mr Muñoz’s music will recall. These musicians are every other performer on the recording are superbly attuned to the composer’s vision and artistry. Each gives of himself having interiorised this music and interpreting it with idiomatic grace.

Deo gratis…

Video of Lords of War from Side B of Glimmering Path

Music – Side A – 1: En El Jardin de la Plenitad; 2: Crescent Moon; 3: My Love; 4: August. Side B – 1: The Three Seasons; 2: River of Love; 3: Lords of War.

Musician – Luis Muñoz: acoustic piano [Side A – 1, 2], piano [Side A – 3, Side B 1], electric piano [Side A – 2], Fender Rhodes [Side A – 3], synthesizers [Side A – 1 – 3, Side B – 1, 3], bass, [Side A – 2], drums [Side A – 3, 4, Side B – 1 – 3]; Randy Tico: fretless bass [Side A 3, Side B – 1, 3], electric bass [Side A – 3]; Brendan Statom: contrabass [Side B – 2]; Lois Mahalia: vocals [Side A – 2, 3, Side B – 2, 3], background vocals [Side A – 2, 3, Side B – 2]; Shawn Thies: background vocals [Side B – 2]; Tom Buckner: soprano saxophone [Side A – 1]; Jonathan Dane: muted trumpet [Side A – 3, 4], flugelhorn [Side A – 3]; Daniel Zimmerman: electric guitars [Side A – 2, 4, Side B – 1, 3]; Ben Flores: pedal steel guitar [Side B – 2]; Jim Calire: Hammond B3 organ [Side B – 2];.

Released – 2024
Label – Pelin Music [PEL 2024]
[luizmunoz.net]
Runtime – Side A 21:33 Side B 20:52

Based in Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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