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Joshua Breakstone: Memoire: The French Sessions, Vol. 2

Joshua Breakstone is a master bebopper whose Monk and Bud Powell songbook albums for Double-Time are easily recommended. Memoire: The French Sessions, Vol. 2 follows up 2004’s A Jamais but lacks the energy of the earlier disc. Alongside bassist Louis Petrucciani (brother of the late Michel) and drummer Christian Ton Ton Salut, Breakstone is his melodic and savvy self on the opening “Airegla,” an answer to “Airegin” but in fact based on “Woody ‘n’ You.”

He splits the program evenly between originals and standards, reading “Autumn Leaves” in a slow groove and “Nuages” in a steady bolero feel. “C’est Si Bon” has a satisfying boppish bounce, but “Chanson de Delphine” (aka “You Must Believe in Spring”) is so spacious that it’s sleepy. The same can be said for the too-long original ballad “Memoire.” But Breakstone’s “A Little Thing I Wrote” features nice stop-time breaks on the head, and Petrucciani’s free arco solo on the waltz “Frere Louis” is something of a surprise–as are the Zenlike harmonics that open and close the piece.

Originally Published