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Mark Kleinhaut and Charles Ives have a number of things in common. Both are from New England, both are musicians, and both had other careers, Ives in insurance and Kleinhaut in banking. Both also advocated composing unapologetic, genre-destroying, unflinchingly original music. Kleinhaut follows his most recent trio recordings with a quartet outing with brass aficionado Tiger Okoshi. The results are perplexingly deceptive. Kleinhaut's music is a paradox in the respect that it is composed with a certain complexity that makes the music sound like it was created easily. This music is airy and smart, like fine incense. It flows logically, stopping by a gospel bend, swirling around a cosmic blues corner, and collecting in the far corner of the post bop section in the record store. In doing so, this music permeates the listening space with an intelligence that warrants the listener to pay attention and appreciate the craftsmanship that went into the composition.
Kleinhaut has a tone and attack somewhere between Joe Pass and Bill Frisell. Pat Martino and Jim Hall also show up in his playing. He is not flashy, but is dependable in his own personal way. The addition of Tiger Okoshi to the Kleinhaut mix at first alarmed me because of his penchant of playing with a Lee Morgan edge. No problem, Okoshi melds perfectly with Kleinhaut, adopting the guitarist's well-behaved otherworldly vision. The only place they really step off of the clouds is on the upbeat blues bop of "Talk to You Later." The rest of the recording is a moody tone poem of high IQ jazz. Go for it.
Cape Hatteras; Water Waltz; Erika's Living Room; Mousetrap; Bluejay; Aftermath; Three Olives; Talk To You Later; Cry Wolf; After Hours (Total Time: 60:16).
Mark Klein Haut: Guitars; Tiger Okoshi: Trumpet, Flugelhorn; Jim Lyden: Bass; Mark Macksoud: Drums.
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.