Liking Luma

Bruce Von Stiers

Alex Weitz has a pretty hefty pedigree for a young saxophonist. He was a member of the Tucson Jazz Institute Ellington Band and, under the guidance of Terence Blanchard, a member of the Henry Mancinci Institute Jazz Septet. In 2013 Alex was awarded the Outstanding Undergraduate Soloist award from Downbeat. That same year Alex released his debut recording, Chroma.

This year finds Alex with a brand new recording. He is self-releasing the album, which is titled Luma. The album was recorded at the Red Rocks Studio in Miami. It was mixed and mastered by Dave Darlington, who has worked on albums by Sting and Take 6. The album features nine song and has a play time of one hour. Each of the songs on the album is an original composition.

Even though the album lists just Alex as the artist, this is basically a quartet recording. Besides Alex on saxophone, there is Tal Cohen on piano, Ben Tiberio on bass and Michael Piolet on drums. A native Australian, Tal has seen critical praise for his own albums. A founding member of the jazz collective, Good Vibes, Ben has performed as venues such as Dizzy's and recorded with greats like Terell Stafford. Michael teaches at the University of Miami and performs and records with a lot of different artists.

Did You Know starts out like it will be a toe-tapper. But quickly the song slow down into a subtle groove. The song highlights the saxophone playing. There are nice piano and bas solos in the middle of the song.

The second song on the album is Outer Noise. It has some cool bass backing Alex's sax.

In third and fourth positions on the album are Song For Peace Pt. 1 and Song For Peace Pt. 2. This two part song was featured in the Swedish documentary Bettan's Taxi. The first part of the song is fairly light and easy with the sax in front. The second part has slower moments but other times is pretty vivid with piano, drums and bass vying for the top spot in the song.

Let It Go begins slow and speeds up a bit, only to slow down to an easy pace.

The title track, Luma, starts out with piano. Then moves in with slow and endearing saxophone.

Equilibrium has tough bass and piano in the front. That is joined by interesting sax and drum.

Azelea is light and easy at first then slides into a toe-tapping groove.

The final song on Luma is Reminiscence. For most of the song the pace is slow and easy. Later the drums are given equal time with the sax.

I like jazz a lot, no matter if it's fusion, smooth or whatever. But I still like fact that some musicians lean towards classic jazz formats. And that is the type of music that Alex Weitz writes and records. Luma shows that even though he is fairly young, Alex Weitz is making a strong presence in the world of classic jazz.

Luma is available on ITunes, at CD Baby, Bandcamp and other music outlets.

Alex's web site features several videos of him performing. If you'd like to view those, or just find out more about Alex Weitz and his music, visit .

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© 2017 Bruce E Von Stiers