A jaguar is nocturnal, solitary, and prowls the dark rain forest with a silky strut. The big cat is also the mascot of Electric Deluxe Recorders, the Austin home studio of Adrian Quesada, the Grammy Award–winning multi-instrumentalist savant behind the Black Pumas and Grupo Fantasma. It was there, in 2020, in the depths of pandemic-forced isolation, that Quesada started recording the all-instrumental Jaguar Sound, out November 18 from ATO Records. After sunset in those early months, he’d go on solo bike rides or sit outside under the stars, which were more visible with the city shut down. “That drippy-night-sky kind of feel,” said Quesada, “that’s what I wanted to paint.” He built “Starry Nights” around a high-pitched delay echo from his guitar—“shooting stars,” he said—and from there brought in a smooth chord progression and soul-style bass and piano lines. Austin violinist Alexis Buffum and Los Angeles harpist Mary Lattimore added an ethereal quality to what feels like the perfect tune for a moonless sky-gazing session.
This article originally appeared in the December 2022 issue of Texas Monthly with the headline “Starry Nights.” Subscribe today.