Joshua Breakstone | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Joshua Breakstone 

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Despite his clever phrasemaking on bebop flag-wavers, despite his vacuum lock grasp of deep swing at medium tempi and his straightforward main stream lyricism--despite all that, your first impression of Joshua Breakstone's guitar work derives from his tone. In the tradition of Kenny Burrell, Jimmy Raney, and especially Wes Montgomery, he favors a rounded, full, almost overripe sound; it swells over the bar lines and sweeps the rest of the music along behind it. Breakstone's considerable virtues are not innovations. In fact, even on his most unusual project to date--two albums of Beatles tunes released last year on the hard-to-find King label from Japan--he found his precedent in Montgomery, who recorded a number of Beatles tunes in the 60s. Yet unlike Montgomery, Breakstone customized even familiar mop-top anthems into unexpectedly successful jazz vehicles (thanks to some rhythmically ingenious arrangements), and then proceeded to play the hell out of them--leading one to hope they're on this weekend's playlist. Some visiting soloists have little trouble adapting to the styles and personalities of their nice-to-meet-ya, local-gig accompanists. Breakstone isn't one of them, requiring a simpatico rhythm section before he can really settle in; luckily, he should have one in the trio led by pianist Ron Perrillo and anchored by drummer George Fludas. (Breakstone inaugurates the Bop Shop's "Guitar Month," which will also import John Stowell, the Czech-born Rudy Linka, and Cleveland's Bob Ferrazza.) Friday and Saturday, Bop Shop, 1807 W. Division; 235-3232.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Cindy Lewis.

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