Luis Muñoz, composer, arranger and percussionist, was born in San José, Costa Rica. Coming from a very musical family, Luis showed an early interest in the arts and spent his youth performing in Rock and Jazz groups. In 1972 Luis entered the University of Costa Rica where he studied both Architecture and Music. He studied privately at the National Music Conservatory and with the principal flutist of the National Symphony Orchestra. In 1974 Luis emigrated to the United States and there completed his Degree in Music Composition at the University of California, Santa Barbara, under the tutelage of renown British composer Peter Fricker. For the last 30 years Luis Muñoz has written music for educational and sports documentaries, animation films, radio and television jingles, dance and theater. In addition, Muñoz has worked as a music producer and arranger, as well as a percussionist for numerous artists such as Airto Moreira, Etta James, Flora Purím and Jim Messina.
Luis Muñoz has made numerous recordings of his music throughout the years. In 1980, commissioned by the Costa Rican government, Muñoz wrote and recorded "COSTA RICA-COSTA RICA". Luis donated all the proceeds generated by the sales of that recording to the Red Cross in Nicaragua, a nation at the time desperately trying to heal itself from the effects of a devastating civil war. In 1988 he signed with CBS Records and recorded "LA VERDAD". In 1996, Fahrenheit Records "THE FRUIT OF EDEN", Co-produced by Dominic Camardella (who has helmed projects for Maynard Ferguson, Ottmar Liebert and Willie and Lobo), marked Muñoz's U. S. recording debut, an explosive introduction to a talent that had been wowing Latin America for years. In 1998, Muñoz brought listeners a more progressive and exotic expression on his next endeavor, "COMPASSION", continuing to evolve as an innovative force in instrumental music.
"I grew up in Costa Rica, which is right in the middle of the American continent," he muses, "and being in a place where every form of Latin music merges really had an impact on me. Coming from a large family that included amateur instrumentalists as well as professional composers, my involvement with music started at a very early age. I was constantly being exposed to the plentiful, multi-faceted world of Latin American music; the pleasure, inspiration and joy that came from that experience were very important factors in my decision to become a composer. I remember listening to the songs of Chilean Victor Jara and Violeta Parra; the voices of Mercedes Sosa and Milton Nascimento; the Argentinian Tango; the music of the Andean "Altiplano." I loved the music of Brazil, with the pulsating rhythms of the samba, the maracatú, the partido alto and the baião, plus the gentle beauty of the bossa nova; the cumbia from Colombia, the merengue from the Dominican Republic, the calypso from Trinidad, the norteña and ranchera music from Mexico, the bomba and plena from Puerto Rico and the music of Cuba. Cuban music, with it's deep African roots, has offered the world the gifts of the rumba, the cha-cha-cha, the son montuno, songo, mambo, guaracha and guaguancó, creating beats to which the entire world now dances." Muñoz continues, " ... In loving and appreciating these styles of music I grew up with, I would soon realize that there was much more yet to be discover. Early on I remember being exposed to the music of Miles Davis, Ornette Coleman, Eric Dolphy, John Coltrane and Thelonious Monk, which ignited my unquenchable thirst for jazz. Then, during my early teens, the" British Invasion," and music from groups like the Beatles would introduce me to a new type of music and culture from other parts of the world. Naturally, as a student at the Music Conservatory of the University of Costa Rica, I found myself deeply intrigued with the classical music repertoire. Bach, Ravel, Chopin, Stravinsky ... the influences were many and varied. I was in awe of the vast emotional spectrum of classical music. The passion and depth, the rapture and relevance, the sheer magic that can only be found in some of the greatest works ever written."
In 2004 Muñoz released "VIDA" which received the acclaim of the music media worldwide. Among many accolades, DownBeat magazine gave it 4 stars, it was pronounced "Best Latin Jazz CD of the Year" by Jazzreview.com, "A truly Monumental Work" by Americas Magazine, "A Masterpiece" by world renowned music critic Mark Holston (Hispanic Magazine) and "One of the 10 best recordings of the year" by Latin Jazz Network. In 2006 Mr. Muñoz was given an ACAM award in Costa Rica, for Jazz Composer/Producer of the year.
In 2007 Mr. Muñoz releases his latest recording, "Of Soul and Shadow", a collection of 10 compositions that explore his Central American roots through the idioms of Costa Rican folklore, classical music and jazz. Of Soul and Shadow features the collaborative efforts of over 25 musicians, including special guests Adolfo Acosta (Tower of Power) on trumpet; percussionist Ramses Araya (Ruben Blades); chromatic harmonica player Ron Kalina; trombone player Ira Nepus (Diana Krall); and New York sensation Dave Binney on alto sax.