Guitarist Joshua Breakstone- Selected Quotes
"His flowing lines on uptempo cookers are impeccably clean and fiery,
bearing the mark of a first-rate improviser, while his chordal work on
heartbreaker ballads is the final word in finesse."
"There is no shortage of young, knock-out jazz guitarists about us these
days. And Joshua Breakstone is among the best of them."
"Fire in velvet. A fitting description of Joshua Breakstone's jazz guitar."
"The style in which Joshua develops his fluid single-note solos used to be
thought of as the Grant Green school, but now this man leads the school."
"Breakstone is such a keen student and doggedly inventive practitioner of
the bebop lineage that his taste never gets in the way of his energy, and
he has both in abundance."
"He's putting some good records out; they're very good, very musical- very
provocative. You can hear all the influences of all the great guitar
players, but there's something individual there. It takes a guy quite some
years before he becomes an original, so he must have started pretty young."
"Breakstone's playing emphasizes inventive, lyrical single-note melody
lines. Though his fingers have been described as 'continual blur' onstage,
he never lets frenetic technique detract from his interesting melodies
which always have both intellegence and feeling behind them. Breakstone
says 'Jazz should sing, be pretty to listen to, and feel good',and he is
true to his philosophy. To anyone who has heard him, it is clear he is on
his way to making his mark as one of the great jazz instrumentalists."
"With a firm grasp of the bebop language, Breakstone nevertheless avoids
its cliches, instead unfolding a storyline in his solos, all the while
building interest with economical, elegant lines and sustaining longer
notes with a clear, rounded guitar sound."
"Breakstone was a contrast to [Herb] Ellis' polished demeanor but not his
musical savvy. While the dark-suited Ellis sat stoically mid-stage, his
Gibson ES-175 guitar squarely in his lap, Breakstone stood bopping and
weaving solo flights from his Gibson L-5 in his gray cardigan......The
union of the two guitarists was what the bill was all about, and it brought
about the expected marvelous results. Leaping head first into 'Body and
Soul', Ellis and Breakstone traded chorus for chorus, to the delight of the
crowd and apparently themselves."
"Just after 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Cafe Luxford in Minneapolis, jazz
guitarist Joshua Breakstone launched into 'Bouncing With Bud' at a frenzied
pace. Breakstone's fretwork was flashy but purposeful, blending a warm
liquid tone with forceful improvisations as he shaved and guided the melody
of the tune to his liking. His eyes were half-closed in concentration as he
bobbed in time to the rhythm, enacting the song's title. Nearly 3 1/2 hours
later, abetted by bassist Billy Peterson, and drummer Kenny Horst,
Breakstone wrung the last notes from the evening's final ballad. Over the
course of three sets the trio had collaborated on a repertoire ranging from
complex bebop tunes to a basic blues jam to an untitled song Breakstone
composed last weekend. Along the way, Breakstone.... solidified his stature
as one of the more resourceful and compelling young guitarists in jazz."
"Joshua Breakstone, a young guitarist from New Jersey, is at the West End
Cafe through today, playing with a serene, swinging assurance and a melodic
warmth that suggests a musician of longer experience than he has had.
Leading a seasoned group of sidemen- Kenny Barron, piano; Dennis Irwin,
bass, and Keith Copeland, drums- Mr. Breakstone produces guitar lines that
flow through smooth, mellow-toned, bop-based phrasing.....There is depth
and thoughtfulness in his playing, a sense of graceful development even
when he is swirling along with jumping intensity. When he seems to be
moving at a headlong pace, he is calm, with time to pause as though to
consider his next move, to throw in a jagged, turning phrase and then hurry
on, still unruffled."
"As for Breakstone, his playing sparkles because of his strong sense of
melody and his wit..........This 'bopping' album is smooth and clean and a
real pleasure for one's ears"
"...Breakstone further establishes himself as one of the most gifted and
formidable jazz guitarists in the country right now."
"My ears find him akin to the melodicism, airiness and swing of Jimmy
Rainey and the drive and fluid legato single-note approach of Tal Farlow
and Charlie Christian. The Bud Powell tune 'Oblivion' and Barry Harris'
'Even Steven' are reasons enough to acquire this disc. Add the phenominal
work of baritonist Pepper Adams (who died 7 months later) and Kenny
Barron's bottomless well of elegance on the piano, and you have a grand
prize-winning project with no dispute."
"Self Portrait In Swing"
"Breakstone's a gifted young man and the world is literally at his
fingertips. He plays jazz guitar like a veteran of countless bebop bar
nights, yet with the enthusiasm of the new kid on the block- i.e., with
taste, tenderness, and a bit of gentle funk."
"It ['Self Portrait in Swing'] continues his own line of melodic invention
with a hearty warmth underneath it all. His alone is the combination of
long, lucid phrases, unexpected yet fitting quotations and arrowsharp
inflection on an Irving Berlin tune or the driving title cut. Plus, he's
got the great pianist Kenny Barron aboard to add unique twists and turns."
"Through his series of recordings for Contemporary, Joshua Breakstone has
proven time and time again that he is one of today's top bop
guitarists...Breakstone....sounds relaxed at each of the tempos, the rhythm
section is beyond criticism and Self-Portrait in Swing is a flawless bop
date that will still sound fresh 20 years from now."
"Bud Powell's 'John's Abbey' comes bursting out of the gates, and the Monk
medley is an introspective piece that recognizes the restraint and subtlety
in Breakstone's playing. The guitarist's growth is clear here, with his
increased responsibility for bringing the action. He's hearing the whole
song and it all comes out through his fingers. He sees past the simple
interpretations, keeps it close to earth, but finds ways to slip past the
norm, maturing like John Scofield in that way. He hasn't altered his style
drastically in the trio setting- he suddenly isn't playing all chorded
solos. He's just keeping a focus on the song and playing with confidence."
"This Just In"
"In his most recent release, 'This Just In', Breakstone dabbles in improvs
of Sinatra, Gillespie, and bossa nova classics with grit and style, then
inserts some of his own originals to finish off a crisp, succinct,
"Tribute to Grant Green"
"This is a hard-swinging, well played session from start to finish with
Green's two compositions, the cooker 'Grantstand' and the blues 'Grant's
Greenery' among its highlights, as is Duke Pearson's classic 'Idle
Moments', which was the title of one of Green's 1963 Blue Note recordings.
Although Breakstone says in his notes that recreating the mood of the
original would have been impossible, he and his colleagues don't miss by
much.... This is an excellent session, rhythmically strong and harmonically
rich, and a splendid tribute to a talented musician who died much too far
ahead of his time."
"Ultimately, a tribute to Grant Green must be tasteful, yet daring. It also
has to swing and feel bluesy. This one gets a thumbs-up on all accounts."
"The Music of Bud Powell"
"Breakstone is a fluid and convincing soloist with a style perfectly suited
to Bud. His lines build logically and even at breakneck speed he's in
command of his box. I like the way he paces himself, developing his ideas
in a leasurely way even when they involve a long stream of eighth notes. I
also like the way he refers back to the melodies and his penchant for sly,
unobvious quotes.......The trio interplay is terrific, the guitar soloing
top-notch, and the choice of material exemplary."
"Joshua Breakstone is back with what he loves doing best: playing guitar
with a melodic grace. One could even see it as an immaculate articulation,
his lines clean, his notes uncomplicated, doublets that augment the shape,
improvisations creating craft of a high order."
"When I originally received this CD I was expecting a lot of up-tempo guitar
playing with blistering single line excitement and bop infused tunes. But as
I listened more, I began to realize that not only was there some very
serious playing going on, but more importantly, what I was hearing was the
heartfelt creation of a musician who has the envious ability to take a
beautiful song and make it that much more endearing. For that I say, merci
Joshua Breakstone, merci."