407

One Long Tune: The Life And Music of Lenny Breau

Elliott Simon By

Sign in to view read count
One Long Tune: The Life And Music Of Lenny Breau
Ron Forbes-Roberts
University of North Texas Press
ISBN:157441210

Born on the cusp of the beat and hippie generations, guitarist Lenny Breau epitomized both but fit into neither. Hailed by many as the greatest guitarist of all time, he remains largely unknown outside of guitar circles and his murder at the age of 43 in 1984 is still unsolved. One Long Tune is an in-depth examination of both his phenomenal guitar technique and disastrous substance abuse.

Forbes-Roberts does a credible job of depicting the variables that fostered Breau's total devotion to his instrument and subsequent descent into heroin addiction. The author has interviewed over 200 people who in some way were associated with Breau. This material serves as the bulk of the chronology of Breau's personal life.

A guitar child protégé of a husband/wife country music duo, Breau quickly became part of the music business and mastered Chet Atkins' guitar method. Subsequently, he developed an extension of Atkins' style to capture on the guitar pianist Bill Evans' chordal voicings, and in the process redefined the instrument's jazz potential. A stuttering problem that continued throughout his life, an autocratic alcoholic father, an enabling mother and a '60s invincibility ethos that resulted, as it did for so many others, in crashing and burning in the '70s are all detailed.

Where Forbes-Roberts does his best work though, is in his technical explanations of Breau's unique guitar system and his comprehensive critical analyses of the artist's recording sessions. This includes the most complete discography yet published and meticulous breakdowns of Breau techniques such as his use of harmonics to create trademark "impressionistic chords."

A classically trained guitarist and academician, Forbes-Roberts expertly explores this style as Breau applied it to country, jazz and flamenco. Serious guitarists will revel in the author's musical analyses and fans will gain a better understanding of Breau's life and recordings.

Shop

More Articles

Read The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good Book Reviews The Blues: Why It Still Hurts So Good
by Doug Collette
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965 Book Reviews The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge Book Reviews Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2017
Read Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie Book Reviews Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965" Book Reviews The History of Rock & Roll, Volume 1: 1920-1965
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 11, 2017
Read "Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall" Book Reviews Jazz Festival: Jim Marshall
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day By Day, Night After Night" Book Reviews Stevie Ray Vaughan: Day By Day, Night After Night
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 7, 2016
Read "Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge" Book Reviews Slim Harpo: Blues King Bee of Baton Rouge
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: January 21, 2017
Read "Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie" Book Reviews Paul Morley: The Age of Bowie
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!