Published Jan 17, 2014There is a wonderful purity about guitarist Joshua Breakstone's straight-ahead jazz playing. His warm tone, fluid phrasing, playful timing and joyous melodicism are the distillation of his decades-long love affair with what makes the music itself great. After creating memorable work with the likes of Barry Harris, Kenny Barron and Pepper Adams, Breakstone breaks new ground by adding Mike Richmond's cello to his guitar trio.
That cello is right at home from the first tune, Keter Betts' swinging, bluesy "Some Kind of Mean." Following Breakstone's sinewy solo, Richmond's pizzicato lines, slides, bent notes and just plain funkiness are an attention-focusing contrast to the guitar. On Oscar Pettiford's "LaVerne's Walk," bassist Lisle Atkinson steps up with a solo that changes rhythmic, melodic and harmonic direction every couple of measures, but remains cohesive throughout, especially with drummer Eliot Zigmund's unfailing responsiveness and support.
One element of Breakstone's artistry deserves special mention: his dynamics. Notes are given nuanced dynamic shadings, making each phrase an individualized statement. As a result of such attention to detail, the guitarist achieves an understated eloquence on an album highlight, the haunting ballad "Be Anything." With the Wind and the Rain will reward repeated listening; it's highly recommended. (Capri)