Joshua Breakstone Biography

22 July 1955, Elizabeth, New Jersey, USA. Playing guitar from an early age, Breakstone began taking an interest in jazz at the start of his teenage years. He studied privately with Sal Salvador and also attended Berklee College Of Music. In 1977, he toured Canada with Glen Hall, making his recording debut with this band. Breakstone taught guitar at Rhode Island Conservatory of Music between 1979 and 1981, during which period he played regularly at New York clubs. Among musicians with whom he worked were Warne Marsh, Emily Remler, Dave Schnitten and Vic Juris. His debut album as leader came in 1983 on which he was teamed with the Barry Harris Trio. For his second album, Breakstone linked up with Kenny Barron, with whom he was to have a long and musically rewarding relationship. Other musicians with whom he worked and recorded during the 80s and 90s were Pepper Adams, Jimmy Knepper and Kenny Washington.

Although strongly bop influenced in his approach to music, Breakstone’s repertoire ranges widely. He often plays songs from the pop scene of his formative years, for example the Ventures’ material on Walk Don’t Run, bringing to them original thought and displaying as much care as he brings to the music of bop giants such as Thelonious Monk. Technically accomplished though he is, Breakstone often chooses to play clean, single-note lines that hark back to the beginnings of bop guitar. Overlying much of his work is an aura of carefully constructed, if somewhat introspective, musicianship that is of a very high order.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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