At the Six Flags amusement park near Atlanta, GA, a ride called the Wheelie speeds each smiling, screaming and sometimes nauseous passenger in a circular motion purely for the thrill of experience. Each passenger undergoes a centripetal acceleration of 19 meters per second squared, which is twice the acceleration of a body in free fall. This gives the passenger a rush that is enjoyable and exhilarating. Each thrill seeker is moving around the circle while at the same time is also accelerating towards the center of the circle. Moving around the center while at the same time seeking the center is the reason the ride is so thrilling. If the ride did not hold the center, the passenger would be thrown through space! Mark Kleinhaut has applied this concept of moving through time and space while seeking a center to music with Holding the Center.
After receiving a B.A. in music at Rutgers University under the direction of the late Ted Dunbar, Kleinhaut abstained from the typical jazz path, deciding not to move to NYC and trying to break into the jazz community. Instead, Kleinhaut pursued a solitary path, taking a day job in a non-music related field, banking (like his mentor Ted Dunbar, who was a pharmacist). While working on his career in the financial industry, Kleinhaut continued to pursue musical artistry by maintaining rigorous practice and gigging schedule, working steadily to develop a unique musical voice.
The New England native prefers a clean guitar tone, recalling mainstream jazz guitarists like Wes Montgomery and Pat Martino. However, the listener will be rewarded with Kleinhaut's highly evolved modern vocabulary. Kleinhaut’s melodic phrases circle through the harmony while always seeking to keep musical taste and good rhythm at the center. All thirteen of the Kleinhaut penned originals seek the same center with inventive use of harmony, melody and varying styles and colors.
Kleinhaut’s playing on "Sister Cuba" is evidence of his unique style. After a nicely written melody with well placed hits, Kleinhaut starts his solo only accompanied by drummer Les Harris Jr. playing a 3-2 clave. Kleinhart’s lines are focused well articulated and in the pocket while spinning the listener through a musical journey.
In fact, the CD spins through a wide range of musical styles, all the while maintaining a center of focus and musicality. The listener will orbit through some straightforward swing in "Holiday," while passing through two bossas during "Shells on Ancon Beach" and "Passing Bird," a moment of circling the past with the Wes Montgomery-esque track entitled "Baby R," and finally arching through the crunchy, hard-driving electric closer, "Rock and Sand."
Kleinhaut’s banking side shows through in that he knows that one has to invest in the future. Kleinhaut is investing in the future of jazz by teaching privately and has recently started conducting clinics and workshops at Universities and High Schools, including Bowdoin College and the University of Maine. In addition, serving as President of the Maine Jazz Alliance, a member of the University of Southern Maine's School of Music advisory board, and has served on the boards of the Maine Jazz Festival and the Maine Jazz Camp.
Keeping jazz alive is also a family affair with Kleinhaut's wife, Erika Aberg, running Invisible Music, a small independent label that focuses on the works of jazz artists of northern New England. Representing a wide diversity of style the label's catalog features over 30 titles by 20 artists.
Take a spin on the Mark Kleinhaut trio ride. It will amuse and entertain all the while spinning the listener through a musical experience while accelerating towards holding the center of musical taste and elegance.