Mark Kleinhaut Trio: “Secrets of Three” – Jazz Guitar Life CD Review

It really amazes me how much great music is out there if you seek it out. Take for instance The Mark Kleinhaut Trio CD Secrets of Three. This is a wonderful trio CD from a very talented and accomplished jazz guitarist/composer with a penchant for writing enchanting melodies. Tunes like “Vacation”, “Wistful”, “Say That You Will”, “Rowboat”, “Veteran’s Day” and more, offer the listener not only an enjoyable auditory experience but a visual one where the tunes seem to provide a subliminal association with the title imagery.

Along with these alluring original compositions is Kleinhaut’s intuitive playing which to say the least, is nothing less than inspirational. He has such a breadth of harmonic and melodic know-how where every note seems to have a purpose and every line is constructed with a keen sense of harmonic nuance and spirit. Check out the straight ahead vehicle “Say That You Will” where he displays his considerable fretboard chops, or his use of exotic scales and modal excursions on the Eastern European tinged “Natasha”, some interesting colors and phrasing going on in this tune.

For something a little different, check out the tune “Zingat” with its jazz-rock(ish) intro leading into an introspective improv section, or the free-form group improvisations on “Nanoprobes” where Kleinhaut et al explore the less traveled waters of jazz improvisation. Some serious playing going on here! And I would be remiss if I didn’t point out the beautiful solo guitar intro to the ballad “Not A Poet” where Kleinhaut proves how discerning he can be with the harmonic sense he has at his fingertips.

So, you may ask yourself, what is the “secret” behind Secrets of Three. Quite simply, it is the camaraderie and musical interplay derived by choosing the right musicians for support and direction. And Kleinhaut seems to have nailed this as Jim Lyden, bassist, and Mark Macksoud, drums, lay down some first-rate support while providing outstanding solo, group, and improvisational abilities. In fact, Lyden is a featured soloist on every tune delivering great tone and musical acumen. I still get chills when he goes into his solo on “Vacation”. He’s definitely in a class with Eberhard Weber, Dave Holland, and others of the same ilk.

Mark Macksoud is also up there with the heavy hitters as he provides a dynamic range of subtlety and crash. Check out his show-stopping solo intro to “Zingat” or his sensitive use of brushes on “Wistful” to fully appreciate his contribution to this group. Kleinhaut definitely knows how to pick them.

With that in mind, this should definitely be a CD that finds its way into your collection. If you enjoy music along the lines of Pat Metheny and John Abercrombie, music that inspires as well as pleases, then Secrets of Three is for you.

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