Luis Muñoz, one may recall, is a drummer who plays other instruments too. But that is only a part of the picture, as much of his music – especially this one, The Infinite Dream – show us; he is a complete musician and possibly now a full-formed one as well. Other recordings that he has made have showcased his compositional gifts, but this one shows us that he is capable of so much more – for he shows that he is an accomplished lyricist, a brilliant orchestrator and, more importantly, someone who is acutely aware of the history of music and its continuum as well as how it reflects its interdependence on allied arts and across intellectual disciplines such as psychology and philosophy. For the repertoire on The Infinite Dream not only evokes, but is steeped in all of those things.
Editor’s Pick · Featured Album · Luis Muñoz with Lois Mahalia: The Infinite Dream
A masterstroke on his part is finding the vocalist Lois Mahalia to deliver the complex and cross-disciplined message – and its nuanced imagery, one might add – with a performance of such grace and beauty that one is compelled to speculate that she has indeed written her name in light among the stars of her craft. Miss Mahalia’s instrument is gorgeous; lustrous and high-sprung. She doesn’t so much sing as she breathes into the lyrics of these pieces, performing them in slow arcs and circles, dwelling on words and phrases seemingly interminably and creating images that make the black dots fly off the page and dally in the air heavy with emotion, as if in suspended animation.
This music has been conceived as if in shades of indigo. It is music that is full of glinting lights, mystical depths, expectations, hopes, sorrows and joys, like the elusive shadows and long inventions of an extended, quasi-Mendelssohnian scherzo. And in sheer colour, in the depth of characterisation and the exceptional range and refinement of conception and execution, Miss Mahalia here imparts a power and sometimes tragic stature to this music. With Mr Muñoz propelling it together with the bassists and other soloists its composer and leader elicits urbanity and lyricism to all of the items. And he does so with seduction and persuasiveness; an object lesson in the essence of style.
Together with Miss Mahalia, Mr Muñoz imparts an aristocratic grace and psychological ambiguity to this music as they bring the stories to life with ravishing beauty. All in all a dreamy musical journey evoked as few could even hope to try.
Track list – 1: Dreams Foretold; 2: And Blood at Midnight; 3: Shame; 4: Irene; 5: Hymn; 6: Into the Sun; 7: The Infinite Dream (JPGR)
Personnel – Lois Mahalia: lead vocals and background vocals (5); Brendon Statom: contrabass (1 – 3, 6); Randy Tico: electric bass (5, 7); Tom Etchart: electric bass (4); Luis Muñoz: drums (1, 3 – 7), drum programming (5), Fender Rhodes (1, 3, 5, 6), Wurlitzer (7), piano (2, 4), Mellotron (7), synth (3), alto flutes (3) and background vocals (5); Jimmy Calire: Hammond organ (4, 7); Jonathan Dane: trumpet (1), muted trumpet (2), piccolo trumpet (7), trombone (7) and background vocals (7); Adam Asarnow: piano (2, 3, 5) and additional Fender Rhodes (6); Daniel Zimmerman: acoustic guitar (1, 2, 5) and electric guitars (6); David Heckhouse: electric 12-string guitar (7)
Released – 2019
Label – Pelin Music
Runtime – 40:51