Gaby contacted me just weeks before the birth of my daughter in December of 2010. She coming down the home stretch of her new record, Illustrated Songs, and was wondering if I would be able to write some arrangements to flesh out the album. I loved the material she played for me and sat down to write a few charts for her, knowing that she had just completed a tour with the great arranger Van Dyke Parks. (I was hoping that the ghost of his particular genius would not follow me around the room while I was working and intimidate me from getting things done.) In the end, we decided on a combination of strings and winds for her more introspective pieces. For a couple of songs that called for a muscular approach, we fixed on a four-piece horn section, eventually manned by the air-tight Conan O'Brien horns and Adam Schroder.
Note: When Gaby mentioned that she had used bass clarinet on 'Garrick' live, I immediately thought of Bob Mintzer, one of my heroes who I had heard was now living in LA and suggested that she call him. He came in listened to the song once and played two takes… and that was that. What a thrill; I used to see him with Jaco Pastorius years ago- they may as well have been playing their set from Mt. Olympus as far as I was concerned. Thanks Bob!
“Gaby Moreno's soulful vocals and ability to switch languages and genres have made her a rising star." —NPR All Things Considered
“Guatemalan songwriter Gaby Moreno lets loose a tangy, bluesy voice with the feistiness of Édith Piaf" —New York Times
“Fresh Sounds: A native of Guatemala, [Gaby Moreno] sings the blues like she was born in Memphis. The bilingual singer-songwriter has caught the attention of fans of the Latin Alternative and Indie worlds in the United States. Her songs in Spanish sound like soft summer breezes that wake you up from a nap with a smile" —Billboard
“Guatemalan singer/songwriter Gaby Moreno distilled inspiration from both Latin and African-American musical idioms from the '20s, '30s, and '40s and poured them into the 12-track album, Illustrated Songs. Burnished with the patina of this unique perspective, 'Ave Que Emigra' jangles with old-timey acoustic guitars, flickering hand-claps, and a Steinbeckian narrative about immigration." —iTunes: Single of the Week Selection
“I really fell in love with this record, because there is so much to her voice ...her voice really stands out—very sweet and soulful ... adapting to different genres of music ... she can go from a dreamy/folksy, very laid back feel, to a tougher edge blast of R&B, to a song that reminds me of something from the 1920's ...to a Brazilian bossa nova song that she sings in English and Spanish." —Felix Contreras, NPR's “Alt. Latino"
“The Best [New] Latin Music... Meet your next favorite from the Spanish-speaking world: Gaby Moreno, Old-School, soulful pop... Aretha Franklin, Nina Simone and Ella Fitzgerald are hard acts to follow, but Gaby Moreno takes her idols' signature bluesiness and marries it with a little Latin flare" —Latina
“Gaby Moreno's music is as sweet and steamy as the rain forests that envelop her native country, Guatemala. She simply keeps you guessing where she's going to take each song next. Original, fresh and provocative, Moreno's material does more than hold your attention, it magnifies it. Her music is hard to define, yet that is what makes her songs so intriguing... Moreno sings and your neck hair stands at attention. Her voice is as clear as mountain spring water truly a sound to be heard. Few artists can hold a note with such clarity and make your jaw drop—she does both. Moreno is equally talented on the guitar, strumming and picking her way through the set like nobody's business... This artist's stage presence can at first seem gentle and pure, but she proved that she can lash out and exert as much energy as a lightning storm. The performance was tight and professional with a spunky overtone that dominated the gig. Moreno's music seemed to grow with the set list, seeping deeply into your conscience. Powerful and enticing, Moreno left you wanting more from the moment the last chord was struck. Simply an artist who cannot be overlooked, Gaby Moreno exudes confidence, charm & professionalism. She is unique in a way that draws you in, holds you there and refuses to let go. Moreno's material is not only ready for the masses, it has the potential to take music in a different direction" —Music Connection