The twist to this story is guitarist Mark Kleinhaut's double identity. When he's not performing and teaching music, Kleinhaut is a vice president of a Boston, MA-based banking institution. But as a musician, the artist adheres to the somewhat traditional school of jazz guitar. On this noteworthy 2002 release, he adds the well-traveled trumpeter Tiger Okoshi to his trio lineup.
The band is in no hurry to get to where they need to go. They effortlessly whirl through a series of breezy swing grooves, a jazz waltz and Bop, while also propagating a catchy melody on the likeable opener, "Cape Hatteras." Okoshi and Kleinhaut's softly executed duet "Erika's Living Room" is all about lyrically charged lines and intricate voicings. On "Talk To You Later," the soloists engage in finger snapping hard Bop unison choruses, as Kleinhaut displays impressive chops via a series of deftly articulated single note leads. Drummer Mark Macksoud and bassist Jim Lyden do their best to maintain sympathetic accompaniment, diligently upping the ante when required. Meanwhile, Okoshi's golden-toned horn work serves as a complementary foil to the guitarist's driving sense of swing and well-placed accents.
In the pugilistic world, styles make fights; and in the cinema, good casting adds realism. Here, distinct musical personalities mirror some of these notions as they elevate the tried and true via a program that bespeaks verve and panache. Perhaps Lord Chesterfield's decree that "style is the dress of thoughts" could serve as a paradigm for this conspicuously engrossing set. Recommended.
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