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This Just In

Joshua Breakstone

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Album Review

Breakstone is a fine bop-oriented guitarist, well known after years of recording dates. He knows his instrument and melody, and has an economical sense in terms of phrasing. On this studio recording, though, he performs as if he were in a club or at a concert: compositions linger endlessly, averaging about seven to nine minutes. It gets a bit tedious to listen to, but perhaps stone-cold guitar lovers and mavens of the Jim Hall, Joe Pass, and Pat Martino crowd will enjoy Breakstone's ramblings. There's also a bit of a hollow sound to the overall production values. Nonetheless, this is good, modern, mainstream music played by the leader, Pittsburgh piano icon Sid Simmons, bassist Dennis Irwin, and drummer Kenny Washington. There's not much that distinguishes each of the eight selections except tempo. On "Bebop," Breakstone uses slight note lines and clusters, delicately balancing the small sound with the urgent beat supplied by Irwin and Washington. "Come Fly with Me" is the most compact and urgent swing, while the title track utilizes the most invention on a 12-16-12 bar blues swing figure. "Stop" uses halting, tacit tactics from the rhythm section — very cleverly conceived — while the lighter tunes, "Three O' Clock in the Morning" and the ballad "Everything I Have Is Yours," have neat quotes, the former "Take Me Out to the Ballgame," the latter "In a Sentimental Mood." Dishearteningly, the final two selections verge on annoying: "Betrayal" is a spiteful swipe at Breakstone's ex-wife, and "Felicidade" is a Latin-tinged number that drones endlessly and could easily have been dropped or cut in half. This CD is a perfect example that less is more, and that adding ad infinitum only serves to lessen the effect of what would otherwise be a much better outing. Lesson: edit thyself. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Biography

Born: 22 July 1955 in Elizabeth, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A fine bop-based guitarist, Joshua Breakstone discovered jazz when he was 14. He studied for several years with Sal Salvador, yet at the time was gigging regularly with a rock group. He attended Berklee, and in 1977, toured Canada with the reed player Glen Hall, making his recording debut on Hall's Sonora release. During and after teaching guitar at the Rhode Island Conservatory of Music (1979-1981), Breakstone worked in New York with Warne Marsh, Emily Remler, Dave Schnitter, and Vic Juris. In 1983,...
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This Just In, Joshua Breakstone
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