Prolific recording artist Joshua Breakstone delivers his twentieth album as leader tipping his hat to a major influence in his professional life, the late Japanese promoter and bassist Mitsuru Nishiyama, to whom With the Wind and the Rain, is dedicated. A guitarist of note with at least fifty tours of Japan under his belt, his experience performing in a format where the late bassist played the cello in an essentially expanded rhythm section, left Breakstone with a desire to document the sound and this effort is the result. To accomplish this, the leader performs with a standard guitar-trio and adds veteran bassist/cellist Mike Richmond to the mix making for a 14-string (cello, bass, and guitar) rhythm section and quartet on four of the nine-repertoire set.
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.
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.
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