Mark Kleinhaut Trio with Bobby Watson: A Balance of Light (2003)
The disc opens with "Ferdinand and Isabelle," an upbeat Latin vibe that sets the tone—clean lines and ringing tones, from both Kleinhaut and Watson. The composition brings back memories of Dizzy Gillespie: lots of joyful notes over the Latin groove, with Watson going high then dancing down the scale, a la Dizzy.
Kleinhaut wrote all the tunes and arrangements for the set with Watson in mind, and it is masterfully done. As fine a jazz session as Chasing Tales is, A Balance of Light seems to have a sharper focus, start to finish. Kleinhaut's guitar style is full of clean, clear solos with a ringing sting in them, and he seems a tailor-made accompanist for Watson, whose alto tone can be described by all the same adjectives applied to Kleinhaut's guitar work, a sound like a sunny day in late November, a day with a bright shine and a bite of winter in the air.
A Balance of Light delivers straight through. Highlights for this listener: the Latin-flavored "Ferdinand and Isabelle" and a beautifully romantic "Erikita," featuring some of John Lyden's bowed bass work.
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Track Listing: Ferdinand and Isabelle, Long Look Back, Four Lane Clover, South of Mason, Field of Greens, Start it Up, Erikita, Summers
Personnel: Mark Kleinhaut, guitar; Bobby Watson, alto sax; John Lyden, bass; Les Harris, drums
Record Label: Invisible Music Records