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A Gypsys Bed: A Tribute to Lenny Breau by Rick Washbrook

This self-produced acoustic guitar gem is the work of a man on a mission. Rick Washbrook is, you may have surmised, a fan of jazz guitar great Lenny Breau. There are moments here that transcend Breau's work. If the sign of an artist is the melding of chops/technical proficiency and soul, this is indeed the work of a maestro. That Washbrook has self-produced this double-disc set speaks to his resolve. The music within it speaks of his love of the instrument. An articulate musician with a deeply joyful, soulful and spiritual approach, he has produced one of the most enjoyable recordings of the year.

Inventive and inspired, Washbrook evokes the spirit of Joe Pass and Herb Ellis as readily as Breau's. There are even hints of Mississippi John Hurt in a couple of original bluesy numbers. Over the course of 28 solo guitar musings, 13 of which are Washbrook compositions, he never fails to delight. He offers a handful of familiar numbers with a unique, delicate and firm approach: "There Is No Greater Love," "Autumn Leaves," a modal "Summertime," "Black Orpheus," "On A Clear Day," The Days of Wine and Roses," "The Shadow of Your Smile" played on 12-string, "Mercy, Mercy, Mercy," "Yesterday," a breath-taking "Here's That Rainy Day" and "Chattanooga Shoeshine Boy" share space with "Blues Eyes Crying In The Rain" and a splendid finger-style take on Merle Travis' "Cannonball Rag" and a number of lesser known covers.

Adding to the delight of the collection is that much of it was recorded solo at Washbrook's home. He is obviously as astute a studio technician as a plectoral genius. He plays Gibson, Yamaha, Aria and Takamine guitars and, oh yeah, the guitar he built, just to drive home the point.

Unquestionably, Lenny Breau was one of the finest guitarists to ever grace a stage or find his way to a recording studio. As this Breau tribute aptly demonstrates, few but Rick Washbrook could have so successfully dared to tackle the master's technique. This is a masterful collection that deserves to be heard by a wider audience.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Rick Washbrook
  • CD Title: A Gypsys Bed: A Tribute to Lenny Breau
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2001
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Rating: Five Stars
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