Though Lionel is a notable exception, jazz is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of The Hamptons. With its jazz age a thing of the past, "America's Summer Playground these days engenders visions of white sandy beeches, superior wines and elegant summer parties.
LUMA (Life, Unity, Music, Amplified), however, is doing its best to change that perception. The trio, comprised of frontman and multi-saxophonist Dan Lauter, bassist Jeff Marshall and drummer Claes Brondal, reveals a potpourri of influences, and no doubt many nights gigging around Long Island's environs. They have solidified into an agreeable sound that gels around worldly beats and catchy sax lines. Their self-titled initial offering adds the keyboard stylings of Vladimir Narcisse for what amounts to a delightful blend of disparate flavors.
The opening "Ever so Slow is anything but: a slick tenor riff sets up against a jump blues rhythm with some added funky spice, before "Fantasmas showcases Lauter's sweet alto in the context of a Latin rhythm. "Grandfather possesses a fine tenor patina, setting the stage for the mysteriously funky "Geezer, which somehow ends up in ska-land, where Lauter's soprano turns out a pleasant reggae-inspired brew, despite the fact that he "Got No Grapes.
World beat reigns by virtue of the percussively charming "Dancing Cloud, which segues into the cool breeze and appealing melody of "Lady Bug, until "The Spell reveals itself as yet another captivating melodic soprano-led exercise. All players join for a deliciously greasy, funked-up closer in "Monkey Pants. A concoction of world rhythms, catchy sax-based melodies, and a liberal dash of funk, LUMA distills an eclectic mix of musical ingredients into a program that goes down easily. A strong debut effort.
Personnel: Dan Lauter: saxophones; Jeff Marshall: bass, djembe; Claes Brondal: drums; Vladimir