Scheduled Appearances











Capital Public Radio Rayon Interview


Capital Public Radio Insight Second City Interview


Nagual on Youtube:

TheHermitTrush Channel





Natomas Magazine Profile


Nagual in the Sacramento Bee:

Editorial notebook: CSUS music fest hits a new kind of groove

By Pia Lopez


With music, whatever the genre, it's easy to fall into the  familiar. Beethoven's 5th Symphony. Duke Ellington's "Take the A Train." Oldies rock 'n' roll.

For 10 days each year, Sacramento State offers us a chance to explore the new, to get out of the rut of the known.

Contemporary composers and compositions, not music history.

A mix of styles, not one theme.

Musicians from near and far.

And it's all free (donations accepted, of course) at various venues around the region.

The Festival of New American Music really is special, something that makes the region stand out. The music department at Sac State is a treasure.

Start with Nagual, a local Latin jazz group that performed Saturday evening. Of the five-member group, three were trained or teach at Sac State. Guitarist Victor Contreras composed most of the pieces, which featured back-and-forth improvisation between Harold Muñiz on congas and Ron Ochoa on drums and between Contreras on guitar and Scott Anderson on saxophone.

In one piece, "Samba de Kleven," named after Sacramento bassist Erik Kleven, who died in a 2006 car crash, Paul Relvas turns the bass almost into a lead guitar.

The group also played a piece by bassist Kerry Kashiwagi, who teaches jazz bass at American River College.

On Thursday evening, you can hear the Kansas-based Allegresse Trio performing new flute-oboe-piano trio compositions. On Saturday, if you're feeling particularly adventurous, you can try the New York-based Wet Ink Ensemble, a genre-buster.

Then to close out the festival on Sunday evening, it's back to the homegrown with Citywater, another group with roots in the Sac State music program. Cellist Tim Stanley, flutist Cathie Apple, percussionist Ben Prima, violinist Charles "Chase" Spruill IV, clarinetist Milun Doskovic and pianist Jennifer Reason debuted at the festival in 2007.

Count on them to bring new and old together in interesting ways.

And that's just evening events. Each day through Sunday is packed with concerts, master classes and composer forums. Check out the schedule: www.csus.edu/music/fenam.

Old standards are safe, to be sure. New music is risky. Expect some older compositions with imaginative new interpretations, as well as pieces that break new ground. With the nontraditional and the experimental, you may or may not like what you hear.

That's the beauty of new music for me – getting out of the comfort zone.


Nagual II CD review posted on the Latin Jazz Corner website:  

Nagual II
Nagual brings a diverse stylistic mash-up into
Nagual II, drawing upon the individual strengths of each band member to deliver a combination of Latin styles, jazz, and rock. A winding bluesy melody grounds “Sneaky Pete” in a swing groove, giving guitarist Victor Contreras and saxophonist Scott Anderson an opportunity to display some strong straight-ahead chops. “Samba De Kleven” opens with an interesting mix of traditional Berimbau from Ross “Gavião” Mele and pandiero from Troye Williams before moving onto Santana-esqe solos from bassist Paul Relvas and a distorted Contreras. The group wraps some moving chord changes around a cumbia foundation on “Big Lou y La Ford,” letting Anderson as well as percussionist Harold Muñiz and drummer Ron Ochoa improvise over this far too often overlooked rhythmic structure. A frenetic Latin Rock influenced cha cha cha sends “Keep It Comin’” driving into edgy solos from Anderson, Contreras, and keyboardist Scott Collard. A breezy bossa nova groove underscores a light and catchy melody on “Just Say It Once More,” followed by unobtrusive improvisations from Anderson, bassist Kerry Kashiwagi, and Contreras. There’s a fairly exploratory spirit on Nagual II as the band jumps between different styles and improvisatory approaches.

The genre jumping can be a bit disconcerting at times, but Nagual holds the album together conceptually through several unifying elements. The musicians each contribute strong and defined performances that resonate with unique personality. The songwriting maintains a consistent logic that relies upon accessible melodies and pleasant harmonies, making the work catchy and memorable. Large pieces of the album stray from the jazz category into instrumental Latin Rock, but this serves as a major piece of the band’s personality. While the musicians maintain a solid and even commitment to Latin rhythms, their backgrounds dictate one foot in jazz and one foot in rock; the group proudly holds this dual heritage that gives the music an authentic sound. The recording resonates with a homemade feel that adds warmth and personality. There’s a lot to like on Nagual II, especially for those listeners that like their jazz with a heavy dose of edgy rock attitude.


KXJZ Insight Interview


The Nagual song Sneaky Pete has been included on a promotional download card for the PBS show "Roadtrip Nation". Roadtrip Nation conducted a tour at a number of college campuses across the country and our song Sneaky Pete was included on the card that was distributed at San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. More information about Roadtrip Nation can be found at: http://roadtripnation.com/. The download card can be accessed at: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/roadtripnation


Songs from the Nagual II CD have been used as music bumps on the National Public Radio (NPR) morning program Morning Edition. "Music bumps" are the songs used to transition from one story to the next. Songs have been used on March 8, 2010November 5 2009 , and November 23 2009 . Click on the link to view the program web pages.



Nagual at Chavez Park Pictures

Courtesy of Steve Harriman