It was time for this to happen. Guitarist Mark Kleinhaut has put out five CDs of original material, but his last two efforts, both on Invisible MusicA Balance of Light (2003) and Chasing Tales (2001)showcased guest artists in front of the trio: alto saxophonist Bobby Watson and trumpeter Tiger Okoshi, respectively. Both were fine outings, but they focused on the hornmen. With Holding the Center, we've got the Mark Kleihnhaut Trio in the limelight.
From apparent influences of Wes Montgomery, Pat Martino and Pat Metheny, Kleinhaut has formed his own personal, intricately melodic approach. This set ranges widely in style but still maintains an attention-holding cohesion, from the first sounds of children playing on the streets of Trinidad, Cuba on "Introduction to Sister Cuba"recorded by Kleinhaut during a visit there in 2004featuring the warm organic tone of a Cuban-made acoustic guitar, to the crunchy, hard-driving electric closer, "Rock and Sand." In between you'll hear some straightforward swing ("Holiday"), a couple of gentle bossas ("Shells on Ancon Beach" and "Passing Bird") and a Wes Montgomery-ish mainstream piece ("Baby R").
What kicks the set up a notch is Kleinhaut's forward lean on the title tune, which features a deft use of loopsand listen to Kleinhaut comp behind Jim Lyden's gorgeous, classical-sounding bowed bass interludeand his use of synthesizer to create a "with strings" atmosphere on "Forgotten Song." And then there's some fun: the scratches and squeaks of turntablist Andrew Zachary over a solid beat and Kleinhaut's glowingly modern playing.
On Holding the Center, guitarist Mark Kleinhaut and his trio push their vision ahead.
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