Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

13

Joshua Breakstone/The Cello Quartet: 88

Mark Sullivan By

Sign in to view read count
Veteran guitarist Joshua Breakstone pays tribute to some of his favorite pianist/composers here. He tells a story about a fellow Berklee student (a saxophonist) who asked legendary saxophonist Sonny Stitt if he could sit in. Stitt shut him down with the question "how many keys on a saxophone?" The novice couldn't answer—there are 23—but everyone knows a standard piano has 88 keys. Breakstone sees the piano and the guitar as extended family, with a comparable chordal role in the rhythm section. The selections chosen for 88 aren't meant to represent the best, or even his favorites—they're simply a diverse collection worthy of note, whether well-known or not.

Most of the pianists are associated with hard bop, and the names will certainly be familiar even if the song titles are unfamiliar. Harold Mabern leads off with "The Chief," his homage to saxophonist John Coltrane. After a rubato unaccompanied guitar introduction, the tune takes off with guitar doubled by Mike Richmond's pizzicato cello, the signature sound of this group. Richmond takes the first solo as well, followed by the leader. Then drummer Andy Watson shines while trading eights with unison lines Breakstone wrote for guitar and cello.

"News For Lulu" comes from Sonny Clark's pen, followed by Cedar Walton's "Black." Bassist Lisle Atkinson gets the spotlight during the rubato opening and closing sections, and the guitar solo includes a clever "Summertime" quote. Mal Waldron's "Soul Eyes" and Tadd Dameron's "If You Could See Me Now" are probably the two best known tunes. "Mo Is On" comes from the underappreciated Elmo Hope, "Lolita" from Barry Harris, and Lennie Tristano composed "Lennie's Pennies." Breakstone contributed one original, a memorable bebop tune titled "Eighty-Eight" which is dedicated to the pianists of the world.

Finally, a word about the Cello Quartet. The original incarnation was assembled in Japan, at the request of a bassist collaborator. Not wanting to drag a bass around, he suggested a rhythm section plus cello instead. Several bassists have played the cello—including Ray Brown, Oscar Pettiford, Sam Jones and Ron Carter—so it was not unprecedented. When Breakstone assembled an American version of the band, he initially intended to use the cello "as a solo instrument, just like...a saxophone or trumpet." But the group settled on having the cello play entirely pizzicato, making "a string section accompanied by percussion." The sound is similar to another infrequent configuration, piccolo bass in combination with double bass. It is an unusual sound: fresh for listener and band members alike.

Track Listing: The Chief; News For Lulu; Black; Soul Eyes; Eighty-Eight; Moe Is On; Lolita; If You Could See Me Now; Lennie's Pennies.

Personnel: Joshua Breakstone: guitar; Lisle Atkinson: bass; Andy Watson: drums; Mike Richmond: cello.

Title: 88 | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Capri Records

Tags

Listen

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Eighty-Eight

Eighty-Eight

Joshua Breakstone
88

2nd Ave: Blues For Imahori

2nd Ave: Blues For Imahori

Joshua Breakstone
2nd Avenue

Album Reviews
Read more articles
88

88

Capri Records
2016

buy
2nd Avenue

2nd Avenue

Capri Records
2015

buy

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019