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Luis Munoz: The Fruit of Eden

On The Fruit of Eden (Farenheit Records FR9606; 54:04), Costa Rican percussionist Luis Munoz offers light and sweeping melodies grounded in steady pulses of Latin and Brazilian rhythms. Where “Topacio (Topaz)” features pretty piano, sax and fluegelhorn interplay in a lightly percolating setting, “Calipso de Las Americas” is a giddy, tropical dance tune marked by sprightly bass and steel drum. These typical pieces of Fruit make for easy-to-like, background listening, leaving center stage to some of the more firey arrangements, like the tight, fast-moving “Tierranegra,” keyed by Adam Asarnow’s dynamic piano motion as well as Munoz’s percussion. The album’s title track, Munoz’s most intimate piece, is rendered dark and smoldering by the clever combination of Gary Meek’s deep, expressive tenor sax and Randy Tico’s singing bass. Munoz’s best Latin-roots showcase is the album closer, “Libertad (Liberty),” which builds on dynamics and timing (not to mention Meek’s snaking lead) into a truly liberating celebration.

Originally Published