Carli Muñoz was given a piano for a birthday gift at age 13 in 1961. After several month of ignoring the instrument and total refusal to take music lessons, Carli says that out of boredom he started playing the piano; "to my amazement the music flowed as if I already knew how play!" Although born and raised in Puerto Rico, his music of choice was jazz, European avant garde and pop American music. "I was a hopeless romantic and adventurer," Carli says, "even at my pre-teens my choice of music ranged between ragtime, early american ballads, boogie woogie and hard core jazz. At the same time I had a particular affinity for the music of Erik Satie and Edgard Varèse".
By age 15, after having experimented with a local neighborhood garage dance combo and a rock´n roll trio of his making, Carli got his shot to play with the jazz veterans that were performing regularly at the jazz city nightspots. Among some of those musicians were; bassist Freddy Thomas, percussionist Sabú Martinez (who had several recording guest appearances with Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers), drummers Monchito Muñoz and Joe Morello (also a regular with the Dave Brubeck Quartet), and late legendary local trumpet player Juancito Torres.
From 1965 to 1969, Carli formed an original rock band with 2004 Grammy Award winner Jorge Calderon called "The Living End", aka "Space", performing as a house band at the famed Manhattan night spot Scott Munny´s "Rolling Stone" creating waves in the mid and late 60´s New York City rock scene.
After receiving an invitation from a friend to visit Los Angeles for a weekend (the weekend lasted 16 years), Carli went to LA where soon enough he started getting calls from various artist to perform and record. Some of those artists were: Wilson Pickett, The Beach Boys (1969 - 1981), George Benson, Les McCann, Chico Hamilton, Wayne Henderson, Charles Lloyd, Peter Cetera, and Evie Sands among others.
During the 70´s while working with The Beach Boys, Carli had an experimental fusion group called "Your Own Space". Late night sessions went on in-between tours through the decade at his home recording studio in Mt. Washington, where local jazz musician would often gather to play and record, often until day light. His band (Your Own Space), also performed frequently at the LA underground jazz spots playing Carli’s original songs and alternating regularly with Al Jarreou and Ricky Lee Jones (before they became famous). In those days Carli’s as well as Jarreou’s and Jones band got paid only by the collections from happy patrons, passing the hat. Some of the musicians in Carli’s band were: Duke Mc Vinny (bass), Art Rodriguez (drums), Chris Pinnick (guitar), Michael Turre (horns and flute), Bob Williams (trumpet), Larry “Nasty” Latimer (percussion), and Carli on Fender Rhodes piano.
In 1985 Carli visited Puerto Rico (another long weekend), reestablished home-base, and has been performing with his jazz trio until now. In December 1998 Carli opened Carli Café Concierto, now called Carli's Fine Bistro & Piano, a world class fine dining and live jazz restaurant where he performs. Carli keeps close ties with the mainland where he often goes to record under his own label Pelosenel Q Lo Records. His most recent CDs are: Love Tales (piano solo), Both Sides Now; a series of duets, trio and quartet pieces with bassist Eddie Gomez, drummer Joe Chambers and flautist Jeremy Steig, Live at Carli's Vol. 1, the first of a live series recorded at Carli Cafe Concierto, Maverick, with Eddie Gomez on bass, Jack DeJohnnete on drums and special gueasts Don Byron on clarinet and David Sanchez on tenor sax. Maverick was select among the best of 2006 by Downbeat Magazine (January 2007 issue). In February 24th of 2007 Carli was featured on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio show on National Public Radio, shortly following with the release of Carli Muñoz Trio- Live at Carli's Vol 2., and in January 2010, Art of the Duo - Live at Carli's Vol. 3, featuring Carli Muñoz on piano and Felipe Fournier on cajón set.
Now Carli Muñoz has recently completed his life's work solo rock album, In My Soul, released in February 8, 2013. The album was tracked at Treasure Isle Recorders in Nashville studios produced by Munoz and his friend of 42 years Fred Vail, The Beach Boys’ former Touring and Marketing Manager. The amazing journey these two went on both with The Beach Boys and within music illuminates the project with spirit and passion. The album is sequenced conceptually with its narrative poetically revealed in Munoz’s liner notes. Munoz also provides moving and candid reflections on the “Dark Horse” Beach Boy. In addition to Munoz’s soulful writing, Fred Vail provides heartfelt insights into the trip he and Munoz have together traveled.
During Carli’s eleven-year association with The Beach Boys he developed a collaborative relationship with Dennis Wilson. After Wilson issued his successful solo bow, Pacific Ocean Blue, which sold 300,000 and hit the Billboard Top #100, Wilson became enamored with Munoz’s sophisticatedly accessible composition style. He recorded 4 of Munoz’s songs for his planned 1978 sophomore album, Bambu. The album was not officially issued until a 2008 reissue of Pacific Ocean Blue was lavishly packaged with it as a bonus. In the years between, these tracks became fixated in the imagination of thousands, becoming a bootlegged cult phenomenon. Munoz’s In My Soul features these highly speculated about songs in their purist form—just how the composer intended.
This exquisite collection of songs spans 1967-2007. Central to this stretch of time are the years 1967-1974. This was a powerfully fertile period for Munoz as a pop songwriter as he processed the political, social, and personal revolutions the 1960s brought on. In My Soul is elegantly intimate with the sublime musicianship of a band of fine studio musicians engaging each other with telepathic grace. Within the womblike feel of these recordings, Munoz humbly steps up to sing the songs as he wrote them. His singing has an unvarnished beauty; his performances are warm, poignant, and truthful.
“It was cathartic to revisit the work on In My Soul,” Munoz says reflecting. “I had these pieces for decades, I never talked about them but they haunted me. They’re the heart of my abilities as a pop composer.”
Pianist Carli Muñoz has collaborated with some of the major figures in the jazz and rock history. His impressive resumé includes concerts and/or recordings with a wide variety of jazz giants, such as Charles Lloyd , Chico Hamilton, Les McCann, Wayne Henderson and George Benson. And under his leadership: Putter Smith, Paul Chambers, Lenny White, Chris Potter, Eddie Gomez , Jack DeJohnette, Don Byron , David Sanchez , Lucille Dixon and Jeremy Steig.
Carli's substantial contribution to rock includes concert and/or recordings and collaboration with Wilson Pickett , The Association, Jimmy Haskell, Jan and Dean, Peter Cetera , Blondie Chaplin, Evie Sands, Henry Gross and eleven years with The Beach Boys . Carli's fourth solo album Maverick marks his pinnacle in the mainstream jazz arena with an all star cast including two Grammy Award recipients for 2005, and was featured among the best CD's of 2006 on Downbeat Magazine; January 2007 issue.
In February 24th of 2007 Carli was featured on Marian McPartland's Piano Jazz radio show on National Public Radio, shortly following with the release of Carli Muñoz Trio- Live at Carli's Vol 2., and in 2010, Art of the Duo - Live at Carli's Vol.3, featuring Carli Muñoz on piano and Felipe Fournier on cajón set.
The Beach Boys, Wilson Picket, Jan and Dean, The Association, The Living End, Peter Cetera, Dean Martin, George Benson, Wayne Henderson, Charles Lloyd, Les McCann, Chico Hamilton, Jimmy Haskell, Eddie Gomez, Joe Chambers, Jeremy Steig, Jack DeJohnette, Don Byron, David Sanchez, Lenny White, Chris Potter, Lucille Dixon, Putter Smith, Michael Simbelo, Sabu Martinez, Lucille Dixon, Chriss Pinnick, Duke Mc Vinnie, Jorge Calderon, Alex Acuña, Nathaniel Phillips, James Gadson, Reggie Mc Bride, Bussy Feiten, Lee Ritenour, Manolo Badrena, Paulinho DaCosta, Victor Feldman, Bobby Lyle, Ian Underwood, Richard Tee, Greg Phillingames, John Hartmann, Justo Almario, Kenny Gradney, Dusty Springfield, Joel Peskin, Glenn Ferris, Sal Marquez, Rickie Lee Jones, Blondie Chaplin, Ricky Fataar, Henry Gross, Evie Sands.
Marian McPartland (on interview on Piano Jazz, NPR February 13th, 2007), James Zitro, John Klemmer, Joe Morello, Paul Horn, Benny Green, Jon Faddis, Tommy Bolin, Tom Trujillo, Royer Mc Guinn, Paul Simon, Al Jarreou, Kenny Rankin, Elton John, Chicago, Jimmy Smith, Shep Shepperd, Dave Santoro, Shepp Shepperd, Carl Freedman and Miguel Zenon among many other fine musicians.