Carli Munoz – Follow Me (2018)

Carli Munoz - Follow Me (2018)
Artist: Carli Munoz
Album: Follow Me
Genre: Post-Bop, Piano Jazz
Origin: Puerto Rico, USA
Released: 2018
Quality: mp3, 320 kbps
Tracklist:
Strangers in a Strange Land
Wangari Maathai
The Hummingbird
Tujunga Waltz
Follow Me
Tere
Claude’s Hope (Bonus Track)
Kenguen (Bonus Track)

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Carli Muñoz latest release “Follow Me” picks up where the landmark “Maverick” left off but with even more inspired nuance and influences. Whereas “Maverick” is a straight-ahead instrumental jazz CD described as “soaring” and “drop-dead gorgeous,” Follow Me adds a layer of world beats, blues, crisp production, seasoned playing, and a conscience. It makes bold musical and social statements without being heavy handed or sanctimonious. Instead, “Follow Me” does just that – inspires the listener to join a journey that feels friendly and familiar yet erudite, knowing full well where it’s been, and where we – as collective members of Carli’s musical universe – are going. Carli artfully blends a myriad of styles, from the friendly blues of “Stranger in A Strange Land” to the delightful playfulness of the “Tujunga Waltz.” Both tracks, along with “Follow Me” feature Carli’s unabashed and unvarnished vocals, expertly shaken and stirred with soaring female accompaniment. These feel like mini movies; visual storytelling placed over deft playing and insanely solid, self-assured production.

The more jazz-leaning tracks “Tere” and “The Hummingbird” are the true essence of Carli Muñoz, punctuating the “joy” perceptively recognized by reviewers on Carli’s past work. Apart from being lovingly written and played, these tracks are the badly needed kick in the pants that jazz needs right now. Further, layered over top of “The Hummingbird’s” frenetic energy, Carli blends in an environmental call to action. This socially conscious invitation is neither overbearing nor preachy, simply asking the listener to enter the conversation.

“Wangari Maathai” then takes that conversation and places it front and center. As the standout track on “Follow Me,” Carli tells the story of Wangari Maathai, author and founder of the Green Belt Movement, and a 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. It is an expansive track – cinematic in scope – defiant yet hopeful, filled with intricacies that artists half Carli’s age could simply wish for. Further, it shines a light on the precarious nature our Earth finds itself in. Carli easily pivots from Wangari’s warning: “the generation that destroyed the environment is not the generation that pays the price.” – to a place of hope – “when we plant trees we plant seeds of hope.” It is this hope – and Carli’s joyous playing – that gives Carli’s latest release “Follow Me,” its desirous sheen.

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