Mark Kleinhaut Trio: Holding the Center

Mark Kleinhaut of Maine has four previous discs under his belt, including two with formidable special guests (Tiger Okoshi on Chasing Tales, Bobby Watson on A Balance of Light). This new album features Kleinhaut in a trio setting, playing 13 originals with bassist Jim Lyden and drummer Les Harris Jr. It’s essentially a mainstream jazz date, but Kleinhaut incorporates sonic elements that set it apart. On “Intro to Sister Cuba” we hear the recorded sounds of children playing. The sounds continue as Kleinhaut strikes a meditative mood on solo acoustic guitar. “Sister Cuba” follows, in an uptempo samba feel, with Kleinhaut on electric. The Latin theme returns on “Shells on Ancon Beach” and “Passing Bird.” The more straightahead cuts include “Logical Extension,” “Green T” and “Gospel of B.”

In another sonic departure, Kleinhaut employs looped effects and synthesized textures as coloring on the bright 3/4 title track and the ballad “Forgotten Song.” He also throws in a turntable sample on the Charlie Hunter-ish “Erika’s 8:30 Rule.” The sounds are interesting but a bit underdeveloped, and the contrasts don’t always hang together. Watch for Kleinhaut’s future efforts, though. He may be on to something.