Joshua Breakstone: With the Wind and the Rain (2014)
While borrowing a selection of familiar standards from such icons as Kenny Dorham, Oscar Petitford, Ray Noble and Paul Chambers among others, Breakstone begins his sixth album for the Capri label with "Some Kinda Mean," a chart from the late double bassist William Thomas Betts, better known as "Keter" Betts. His strumming intro and guitar playing seem somehow eerily reminiscent to the great Wes Montgomery and with bassist Lisle Atkinson doing the honors on the melody and drummer Elliot Zigmund on the sticks and cymbals, cellist Richmond weighs in after a long guitar solo on the first of the four quartet tracks.
The second of the quartet-styled tunes, "I Told You So," an upbeat "Birdlike" romp from the songbook of pianist George Cables, provides some of the guitarist's best riffs and showcasing a bit more of the cellist chops. The trio takes over on the next couple of pieces moving right along on the quick-paced Dorham burner "Short Story" and settling down on Irving Gordon's beautiful gentle ballad "Be Anything," before returning to the string-side of things on "La Verne Walk" showcasing the string instruments on two choruses each.
The immortal Nobel ballad "The Very Thought of You," takes the trio into more soft territory as the guitarist plays slow tasteful chords giving this old song new life. After one more quartet tune with the Paul Chambers original "Visitation," the trio closes an innovative session of light traditional jazz on the buoyant titled-inspired piece "With the Wind and Rain in Your Hair." Loaded with creative solos, improvisational twists, an excellent selection of music and a lively augmented string-based instrumentation, the With the Wind and the Rain reveals a masterful performance from Joshua Breakstone and crew, and challenges the normal definition of the standard rhythm section.
Track Listing: Some Kinda Mean; I Told You So; Short Story; Be Anything; La Verne Walk; La Villa; The Very Thought of You; Visitation; With the Wind and the Rain in Your Hair.
Personnel: Joshua Breakstone: electric guitar; Lisle Atkinson: bass; Elliot Zigmund: drums; Mike Richmond: cello (1, 2, 5, 8).
Record Label: Capri Records Ltd.