Maine based Invisible Music Records is strongly ensconced in the world of jazz recording and with its recent series of releases its position is even more secure. The label provides a sounding board for talented musicians, mostly Maine residents, who see their mission to add to the literature of jazz music. But the music they create is designed to appeal to as broad a spectrum of listeners as possible. While "modern" in the sense that it comes from the minds of instrumentalists/composers who have been influenced by Bop, Post Bop and modern musical forms in general, their music is not overly complex or intellectualized. Thus, those who have been weaned on traditional, mainstream jazz can enjoy it just as much as those who like more advanced musical forms.
One of those who has been a major apostle for this approach to "new" music is guitarist Mark Kleinhaut whose Secrets of Three is his second release for Invisible Music. Leading a trio, he addresses a play list of nine of his own compositions. More often than not, limiting a CD to one's own compositions results in a session gets dreary sounding real quick. Not so here. There is sufficient variety which, when married to the skills of the musicians, provides for almost an hour of pleasant aural sensations. Like his compositions, Kleinhaut's guitar doesn't get into a rut as it acknowledges the influence of a diverse set of guitar masters. On the romantic ballad, "Not a Poet", his clean sound is reminiscent of Al Caiola while avoiding the cloying sentimentality which characterizes Caiola's work for Command Records. The music on this piece, by the way, belies the song's title as it is very poetic sounding, indeed. Vestiges of Jim Hall, the classic leanings of Johnny Smith and the modernism of John McLaughlin are detectable in Kleinhaut's strumming as well."Zingat", which opens with Mark Macksoud's urgent drums, has Kleinhaut embellishing with rich tones, while "Veterans Day" has him in a relaxed, laid back mood. The harmonies on "Nanoprobes" are closer to avant-garde than any of the other pieces on the album. The probing bowed bass of Jim Lyden is prominent on this cut.
His instrumental confreres on this set serve Kleinhaut and the music well. One of the highlights of the album is the civil conversation between his guitar and Macksoud's drums on "Say That You Will". Lyden's dark, deep bass serves two purposes. It lays down a solid foundation for Kleinhaut's guitar and a counterbalance to the drum's sometimes insistent statements. A very well conceived effect, making this album highly attractive and recommended. Visit Mark on the Internet at www.invisiblemusicrecords. com/ Resources/Mark.html.