Personalities | Lenny Breau | Boy Wonder | Guitar Heroes
Lenny Breau (1941–84) was a Canadian guitarist who blended many styles of music, including country, classical, flamenco and jazz guitar. Breau, inspired by country guitarists like Chet Atkins, used fingerstyle techniques not usually associated with jazz guitar.
Breau was born in Auburn, Maine. His French-speaking parents, Hal ‘Lone Pine’ Breau and Betty Cody, were professional country and western musicians who performed and recorded in the late Forties and Fifties. Their son began playing guitar at the age of eight, and by the age of 12 he was the lead guitarist for his parents’ band, billed as Lone Pine Junior, playing Merle Travis and Chet Atkins instrumentals and occasionally singing. Breau made his first professional recording at the age of 15, billed as Boy Wonder.
Around 1959 Breau left his parents’ band and sought out local jazz musicians, performing at Winnipeg venues and learning more jazz technique. In 1961 Breau left for Toronto and created the jazz group Three with singer/actor Don Francks and Don Henstridge on acoustic bass. The Three made appearances on US television as well as in Canadian and New York clubs. Returning to Winnipeg, Breau became a regular session guitarist for radio and television.
By the late Sixties home recordings of Lenny’s playing had found their way into the hands of Chet Atkins, who signed Lenny to RCA and released The Guitar Sounds Of Lenny Breau (1968) and The Velvet Touch Of Lenny Breau (1969). Breau spent most of the Seventies in the United States and settled in Los Angeles in the early Eighties. Only a few more solo albums and a few sessions recorded with steel guitarist Buddy Emmons were issued during his lifetime.
Breau had developed drug problems in the mid-Sixties and struggled with addiction until his death. In August 1984 Breau’s body was found in a swimming pool at his apartment complex in Los Angeles, California. His death was ruled a homicide. He had been strangled and his murder is still unsolved.
An extensive music information resource, bringing together the talents and expertise of a wide range of editors and musicologists, including Stanley Sadie, Charles Wilson, Paul Du Noyer, Tony Byworth, Bob Allen, Howard Mandel, Cliff Douse, William Schafer, John Wilson...
Classical, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country and more. Flame Tree has been making encyclopaedias and guides about music for over 20 years. Now Flame Tree Pro brings together a huge canon of carefully curated information on genres, styles, artists and instruments. It's a perfect tool for study, and entertaining too, a great companion to our music books.
The ultimate story of a life of rock music, from the 1950s to the present day.
Fantastic new, unofficial biography covers
his life, music, art and movies, with a
sweep of incredible photographs.