During the nearly 40 years since he graduated with a degree in jazz studies from the University of South Florida's New College, Joshua Breakstone has managed to find fresh musical adventures.
And that's certainly true of the guitarist's latest release, "With the Wind and the Rain," his first work with what he calls "a cello quartet."
"I had done two tours in Japan with this instrumentation, adding a cello," says Breakstone, 58, who's recorded with artists such as Tommy Flanagan, Kenny Barron, Jack McDuff, Barry Harris and others. "I've always loved the sound of a cello, and it was fun to hear what a cello sounded like playing jazz.
"Once I did it, I started hearing it as a string section -- four strings of the bass, four strings of the cello, six strings of the guitar forming a front line of strings that's accompanied by drums. When I started conceiving of the group in that way, the whole dynamic change for me and it became a lot more interesting and exciting."
Breakstone is trying to line up gigs for the album's ensemble, which includes bassist Mike Richmond on cello. He'd like to keep exploring the concept, but at the same time he says the hunt for other directions and musical paths.
"The recordings are like a great feeling of, 'Alright, we did that, man. Let's put that stuff down,' " he explains. "We start listening to things and trying new things. It's a chance to kind of clean out the system and find something fresh. That's how you keep it interesting."
Joshua Breakstone performs Feb. 12-15 ad the Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe, 97 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe. Seatings are at 6 and 8:30; there's no cover on Feb. 12-13, $15 cover Feb. 14-15. Call 313-882-5299. Breakstone also performs at 4 p.m. Feb. 16 at the Kerrytown Concert House, 415 N. Fourth Ave., Ann Arbor. Tickets are $10-$30. Call 724-769-2999 or visit www.kerrytownconcerthouse.com.
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