Chris Cortez: Awakenings

Acoustic guitarist Chris Cortez brings a conversational approach and upbeat attitude to these 10 contemporary tunes, many of which have a Latin streak. Cortez’s lilting lines create a beautifully overdubbed duet on “Palmettos” and merge gracefully with vibes on the spinning “Let the Cat Out,” while other tracks take on celebratory airs, daydream-like musings or casually funky shuffle grooves. It’s all friendly, likable music, perhaps tricky to play yet very easy to listen to.