A thunderous chord, flattened notes, and a rollicking melody turn out to be the calling cards for Carli Muñoz. He gets off to a fine start with "Maverick," underlining his prowess as a pianist with some delightful runs and heady harmonics. But saxophonist David Sanchez cuts to the chase, dissecting the melody and spiriting it in to some high energy invention with a wealth of ideas.
The opening title tune casts the perfect shadow for Muñoz, who has been active in pop as well as jazz music circles. The later now eclipses the rest, and among his recordings are Love Tales, a solo piano set, and Both Sides Now, with Eddie Gomez , Paul Chambers, and Jeremy Steig. Gomez has been a compact partner for Muñoz, and they bring Maverick to fruition with drummer Jack DeJohnette, with whom Muñoz says he "felt a connection."
Muñoz is a lyrical player. "Katira's Waltz" is an elegant tune, the playing spare yet capturing the essence, with a light swing adding to the appeal. Muñoz soon ups the tempo and even as his right hand describes some elevating musical arcs, his left pegs down some incisive chords. The mood on "Three Little Steps to Heaven" is upbeat and vibrant. The trio pushes the pulse, and when Don Byron comes in on the clarinet, the groove gets a lighter pliancy that juxtaposes the evolution nicely. The whole outing comes off in high gear.
Jerry D'Souza /ALLABOUTJAZZ