Lenny Breau

Cabin Fever

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Almost any jazz fan who has become very familiar with recordings by the late guitarist Lenny Breau is likely very aware of his tremendous battles with drug addiction, which both hampered his career and shortened his life considerably. This undated studio session came about after a friend, Glen McDonald, bailed Breau out of jail and isolated him in his remote cabin -- which lacked electricity, heat, running water, or plumbing -- in an effort to straighten him out. So how was this session recorded? Breau, who plays acoustic guitar throughout this CD, was taped because a generator was available to power the tape machine and two microphones; the results are simply amazing. This is a talented artist heard woodshedding for his audience of one, mixing standards such as "Out of Nowhere" and "What Is This Thing Called Love?" with captivating originals like "Lenny's Mode" and the soft improvisation "Celtic Dream Stream." The lack of formal studio post-production adds to the appeal of this disc because the listener gets the feeling of being Breau's sole audience, so an occasional warmup passage or bit of conversation don't prove to be distracting. A brief interview with McDonald (which isn't listed in the CD packaging) concludes the disc. Released following Breau's death in 1984 by Guitarchives, a label founded to share his music on a wider scale, this CD is an excellent place to start an exploration of his brilliant musicianship.

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