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Amphora by Mark Kleinhaut

Stretching out is what Amphora is all about. A loose and comfortable session, Kleinhaut is in good company. There are many highlights to this recording that are both pleasing as well as musically stimulating.

Based on a funky offbeat rhythm, Suki's Web showcases Kleinhaut's adventurous side. When he takes a solo, you never know where he is going. One thing is for sure. You will never be disappointed. Bar after bar, Kleinhaut excites, and tickles the listener.

The haunting melody that is Forty-Nine illustrates how Kleinhaut can stretch a line without losing interest. There is always a subtle dimension to his playing that keeps the interest level up. Back and forth the theme flows. Like a gentle trip down a river. Quiet, and spiritual, in a meditative sense, fingers gently pass over strings. An air of lightness pervades. Beauty reigns.

Uplifting and positive, Another Spring reaffirms a need in all of us to sing in awe at the wonder of life. Swinging throughout, along the lines of Clifford Brown's classic Joy Spring, the group has a chance to contribute. Of note is Snow's straight ahead solo. Well placed chords, and progressions that not only raise the moment, but challenge the moment as well.

We Never Knew sounds like something Pat Metheny might have written. Beautifully played cluster chords at the beginning, introduce us to another dimension of Kleinhaut's playing. He is full of surprises throughout. Bouncy and fresh sounding with a sustained underlay from the band, Kleinhaut is in his element, enjoying every note.

To say that Mark Kleinhaut is an underrated artist would be an understatement. His contribution to the pantheon of guitar players is undeniable. With greater exposure, Kleinhaut could be on the verge of being one of the most important guitarists to come out of the United States. Never forgetting who came before him he brings a fresh and unique approach to the guitar. Amphora is a fine example of what could happen when you take someone of such talent and let them discover their craft.

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