It isn’t just guest trumpeter Tiger Okoshi’s way with harmony that makes this date by Maine guitarist Mark Kleinhaut’s outfit seem reminiscent of Miles Davis. There’s a balance of soft-toned melodies and instrumental daring, plus the gentle G-force of swing, that gives these 10 compositions the feel of Davis’s "cool" era writing. And though this is a guitarist’s session, Kleinhaut puts Okoshi and the ensemble in the spotlight.
When Kleinhaut does step out, he exhibits a wide command. In "Erika’s Living Room," he makes like Joe Pass, laying down a quiet bed of chords for the gossamer sound of his deft fingerpicking and plucked harmonics. And on "Mousetrap," he travels John McLaughlin’s route, weaving chromatic leads that reverse themselves and then jolt forward again, using chords to bridge the space between melodic duets for himself and Okoshi — whose tone seems richer than ever. It’s on "Three Olives" — just Kleinhaut, bassist Jim Lyden, and drummer Mark Macksound — where the guitarist really stretches his scalar runs, expanding the melody in all directions, pushing his chromatic sensibility. And he gets the most from the lush, electrified sound of his acoustic arch-top guitar in "After Hours," using slapping and plucking for woody accents, carving out short octave-chord passages, blowing gently and then comping through open improv sections until he and Okoshi fade the melody out with more tag-team jamming.