Lenny Breau: The Hallmark Sessions (2003)
The fast runs, the polyrhythms, his adeptness at accompanying himself while playing lead and his proficiency at slipping from country to jazz to flamenco and back are all here. Jazz trio pieces such as "It Could Happen To You," with its extended chordal opening and self accompaniment, or the delicately presented "My Old Flame," are evidence that Breau had already conceived, to a large degree, his singular approach to the jazz genre. "Oscar's Blues" and "D Minor Blues" also attest to his ability to artfully blend styles while maintaining a traditional form. Likewise, there are solo originals and covers that allow the listener to better understand how Breau grew into the powerfully transcendent artist that he became. "Lenny's Western Blues" and "Cannonball Rag" are country finger pickin' gems that complement three flamenco pieces, while "Brazilian Love Song" is an exciting version of "Batacuda" by guitarist Luiz Bonfa, who, like Breau, played melody, rhythm and bass all at the same time. The Hallmark Sessions are the first piece of the Lenny Breau legacy.
This review originally appeared in AllAboutJazz-New York .
Track Listing: 1. It Could Happen to You (Burke/VanHeusen) - 5:42 2. Oscar's Blues (Breau) - 3:38 3. I'll Remember April (DePaul/Johnston/Raye) - 4:25 4. Undecided (Robin/Shavers) - 3:34 5. My Old Flame (Coslow/Johnston) - 5:29 6. 'D' Minor Blues (Breau) - 5:10 7. 'R' Tune (Breau) - 3:20 8. Lenny's Western Blues (Breau) - 2:33 9. Cannonball Rag (Travis) - 2:13 10. Solea (Traditional) - 4:01 11. Taranta (Traditional) - 3:58 12. Arabian Fantasy (Traditional) - 2:51 13. Brazilian Love Song (Batucada) (Bonfa) - 2:07 14. Oscar's Blues [*] (Breau) - 3:39 15. I'll Remember April [*] (DePaul/Johnston/Raye) - 4:24 16. Undecided [*] (Robin/Shavers) - 3:34 17. My Old Flame [*] (Coslow/Johnston) - 5:29 18. 'D' Minor Blues [*] (Breau) - 5:08 19. 'R' Tune [*] (Breau) - 3:17 *stereo version
Personnel: Lenny Breau - Acoustic and Electric Guitar; Rick Danko - Bass; Levon Helm - Drums.
Record Label: Art of Life Records