Alex Wintz – LifeCycle

New York City-based guitarist, composer and educator Alex Wintz, who performs regularly with Etienne Charles and Creole Soul, Ben Williams and Sound Effect, and Peter and Will Anderson, recently released LifeCycle, his debut recording on Charles’ Culture Shock imprint. Wintz is celebrating this milestone with a CD Release tour that is touching down in the eastern Midwest this weekend. The Alex Wintz Trio will perform a Jazz Dinner Club show at The Refectory on Friday, March 9th – Dinner begins at 6pm and the concert begins at 7pm. Details on pricing and the special menu are available here. Space is extremely limited at this point, so call (614) 451-9774 to make your reservation ASAP! Wintz will be joined for this concert by a Pittsburgh rhythm section of Dave Throckmorton on drums and Paul Thompson on bass. Keep reading for my thoughts on this varied but cohesive new album.

Recorded with a top-notch cast of tenor saxophonist Lucas Pino, pianist Victor Gould, bassists Ben Williams and Dave Baron, and drummer Jimmy MacBride, LifeCycle blends traditional and modern material with heartfelt finesse on a mix of quintet and trio tunes. Opener “Action/Reaction” charges out of the gate with a full-bodied and energetic melody from Pino, agile lines from Wintz, and the swinging power of the full rhythm section with Gould, Williams and MacBride. Timeless standard “Sweet and Lovely” takes off from Wintz’s intro into something of a relaxed New Orleans groove, with the leader’s fluid melody easily shifting into a high-flying solo before Williams contributes his own warm passage. Pino and Wintz seamlessly diverge and converge out front on the title track, and Pino’s solo rides the burning momentum before Wintz slows it down and rebuilds with his own dazzling display. Wintz spins a wondrous unaccompanied introduction to standard “Ghost Of A Chance,” and then leads a smooth and easy take over a cool shuffle powered by trio mates Baron and MacBride.

Wintz’s hazy opening to “Seeing Distance” foreshadows a more modern direction, and Pino and Wintz again show off their explosive connection with integrated melodic parts and dynamic solo work, and Gould also chimes in with a contemplative lead that sets the stage for Pino to charge forward. Baron and MacBride are front and center on the languid and bluesy “The Low Road,” where Wintz and Baron both take the opportunity to lay down broad, passionate solos. Final quintet track “Taking Sides” shows a more subdued side of the larger unit, but the tune is bursting with high-level intricacy and a kinetic ascension by Wintz. The album comes to a close with the introspective “Locust Ave,” where Wintz shades the forefront with restrained hues and the slower tempo belies the intensity of the performances.

LifeCycle showcases a collection of in-demand NYC musicians, led by rising star Wintz, merging the old and the new into a refreshing collection. The album is highly recommended for jazz guitar fans and listeners looking for a new spin on familiar flavors. Make your plans NOW to hear this music live Friday! Get a taste of what to expect via video:

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