Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Zachary Breaux

Zachary Charles Breaux (b. 26 June 1960 Port Arthur, Texas - 20 February 1997 Miami Beach, Florida) was an American jazz guitarist, influenced by George Benson and Wes Montgomery and best remembered for his soul-jazz work. He played with many notable jazz musicians during his career, including Roy Ayers, Stanley Turrentine, Jack McDuff, Lonnie Liston Smith, Dee Dee Bridgewater and Donald Byrd.

Zachary Breaux was born on June 26, 1960 in Port Arthur, Texas. He began playing at the age of 9 and after graduating from Lincoln High School, he studied music composition at University of North Texas College of Music where he had been a member of the One O'Clock Lab Band. In 1984, he moved to New York, where he spent 6 years in the band of vibist Roy Ayers. He was signed to Zebra Records in 1996, but died on February 20, 1997 at the age of 36 while on holiday in Miami Beach. He was trying to save the life of another swimmer, Eugenie Poleyeff (1930–1997), 66 of Brooklyn, N.Y., caught by a riptide. He is survived by:

His wife Frederica (née Frederica Elena Clark)
Their daughters Alexis Monet, Mia Deneicia, and Nina
His parents Manuel and Verlie Breaux (née Verlie Marie Zenon) and six siblings.

Zachary Breaux - Groovin' (1992)

01. Coming Home Baby
02. Impressions
03. Picadillo
04. Alice
05. Where Is the Love?
06. Red Black and Greed
07. Lagos
08. Thinking of Alexis
Zachary Breaux - LaidBack

01. Small Town in Texas 
02. Laid Back   
03. West Side Worry 
04. Find a Place     
05. Going Out of My Head 
06. Intro     
07. Remember the Sixties     
08. 10 Days Before     
09. Intro 
10. Midnight Cowboy 
11. In the Midst of It All     
12. On 6th Street

Listening to Zachary Breaux’s commercial work on Laidback, it’s clear that the guitarist was capable of a lot more. That said, this isn’t a bad album—it isn’t a masterpiece, but it’s enjoyable most of the time. Mindful of George Benson’s more commercial instrumental work, Breaux gets into a likable jazz/R&B/pop groove on such originals as “Small Town in Texas” and “West Side Worry.” Harmonica great Toots Thielemans has pleasant, if unremarkable, cameos on John Barry’s “Midnight Cowboy” and Breaux’s mellow title song, while singer Audrey Wheeler joins Breaux for a vocal duet on a cover of Little Anthony & the Imperials’ 1960s hit “Going Out of My Head.” Though Breaux wasn’t a bad singer, this track really belongs to Wheeler. Make no mistake: Laidback is a decent CD—although it’s a shame to hear Breaux simmering so much of the time when you know he was quite capable of burning. ~ Alex Henderson, All Music Guide
Zachary Breaux - Uptown Groove 1997

01. Breakfast at the Epiphany  :16
02. Cafe Reggio  6:06
03. I Told You  4:29
04. Never Can Say Goodbye  5:06
05. The Thrill Is Gone  5:10
06. After 2:00 Am on the West Coast  4:42
07. All Blues  6:33
08. Back into Time  6:04
09. Uptown Groove  5:13
10. Flavors of My Mind  4:19
11. The 135th St. Theme  4:42
12. After 2:00 Am on the East Coast  5:23
13. I Love This Life  6:30

Guitarist Zachary Breaux, who tragically died just a few months after recording this CD (his debut), was a potentially great guitarist with a style coming from George Benson. In fact, his solos are generally more memorable than the purposely commercial material on this set, which largely consists of melodic, jazzy funk jams, usually with rather basic electronic rhythms. The cover versions of "All Blues" (which is given simplified harmonies) and "The Thrill Is Gone" (Breaux's one vocal) are lightweight throwaways, but most of the other selections show off the guitarist's obvious talents as a player; "After 2:00 AM on the East Coast" (a purely acoustic piece with a catchy melody) matches Breaux quite successfully with fellow guitarist Ted Dunbar. The final selection, ironically titled "I Love This Life," is quite odd, for it has Breaux interviewing Dunbar about his life over an overdubbed two-guitar quintet jam (which is sometimes too loud). Among the other guest musicians are flutist Hubert Laws, bassist Brian Bromberg and pianist Renee Rosnes. A diverse and sadly final statement from a fine player. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

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