BWW Reviews: Magos & Limón Croon to the Soul

Magos Herrera and Javier Limón.

Last week, New York based jazz duo Magos & Limón (Magos Herrera and Javier Limón) took the stage at Joe's Pub. Jazz vocalist Magos Herrera hails from Mexico City and has garnered great attention for her singing abilities. Javier Limón, who plays minimalist Flamenco on guitar, is originally from Madrid. Together the duo bridges the gap between their home countries and creates a unique and intriguing sound that lures the audience into the performance and croons to the soul.

Let it be known that jazz is not a specific interest of mine. I find I have a tolerance for the art form, but not a passion for it. Yet, Magos & Limón have left me second-guessing myself and have planted the seeds for a burgeoning romance with jazz in my heart. Before seeing their show at Joe's Pub, Charles Cermele, Producer of Contemporary Programming at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, described the duo's work as a "sexy whisper" to me, and I simply cannot think of a better description for the pair in performance. With a breathy, airy voice, Magos Herrera's sultry alto instrument, even when at full volume, reads as a wholly seductive whisper. Javier Limón's strumming of the guitar resonates with a sensual passion that ignites the air with his music. Together, they bring about an evocative prowess that leaves the audience spellbound and mesmerized.

Still promoting DAWN, their debut album together, last week's concert featured nine songs from the album and an additional song. Each performance was filled with that ever-elusive sexy mystery that makes jazz such an appealing form of music. Javier Limón opened the show with entrancing rhythms on the guitar. Soon after Magos Herrera joined him on the stage, vocalizing an almost chant before springing into a gorgeous rendition of "Wild is the Wind" (Dimitri Tiomkin and Ned Washington). The next song in the set was a beautiful take on "Skylark" (Johnny Mercer with music by Hoagy Carmichael), but their show really came to life as Magos Herrerra took a moment to explain her personal history with the traditional Mexican folksong "La Martiniana" before signing a perfectly balanced and altogether delicate version of the well-loved classic. The duo also performed their original songs "Dawn" and "My Love For You" with gusto and palpable energy; however, the best surprise of the evening was their spectacular and refreshing reimagining of David Bowie's hit tune "Nature Boy."

Magos Herrera and Javier Limón.

In concert, Magos & Limón offer audiences the jazz experience that my parents and grandparents always talked about with fervor. With seeming effortlessness the duo weaves a musical net and casts it over the audience, deftly pulling us into their performance. From the moment they take the stage, we cling to every rhythm, every strung or sung note, and all else falls away. They keenly use the intimacy of a venue like Joe's Pub to their advantage, making us feel as though we are all close friends gathered together to see two of our companions create art before us.

For more information about Magos & Limón, please visit http://magoslimon.com. Also, their album DAWN can be purchased from iTunes and Amazon. Lastly, New York audiences can be part of the recording of their second album, a live album, by attending their American Songbook in the Penthouse concert at Lincoln Center on Thursday, March 26, 2015. For tickets and more information about that concert, please click here.

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From This Author David Clarke

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