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January 28, 2011
10 piece Funk Orchestra. Open dance floor!
“Sock it to ‘em Dr. Tackett!” Mixmaster Wolf exclaims in the opening track of Breakestra’s Live Mixtape Part One. Dr. Tackett is the musical golden child Miles Tackett and he plays some sick bass. Mixmaster Wolf sings and fronts the eight piece funk band Breakestra. The Los Angeles based ensemble is based in deep funk, soul, jazz fever and musical friendships. A Breakestra show is about dancing and swinging — eight men on stage getting loose, playing serious grooves. Think James Brown. Watching the Breakestra live is a tour de force. As Miles says, “What are the first three letters of FUNK?”
The Breakestra began as the house band for the legendary club called the Breaks. Egon from Stonesthrow Records further explains the etymology of their name: “Break. As in “breakbeat.” That ten second slice of percussive magic in the middle of a funk song that, when looped together by progressive South Bronx DJs in the 1970s, became the basis of the hip-hop movement. Arkestra. Out-there jazzer Sun Ra’s funkafied concept of the stuffy classical orchestra.” When we combine the two concepts, you have the Breakestra or in other words an orchestra that plays breaks. Back in 1999, Stonesthrow first introduced the world to the Breakestra with a few 12” releases and soon after the full-length album Live Mixtape Part Two.
“The Breakestra should become a class or a 4-year graduate program for funk musicians. Playing with the Breakestra is a great way to get a degree in funk,” says former longtime keyboardist Carlos Guaico. Indeed it is a way to get your degree in funk because the Breakestra have played an A to Z of funk classics. James Brown, Jimmy Smith, all the way to the endless breaks sampled by Gangstarr and A Tribe Called Quest. The Breakestra have played so many covers of the aforementioned grooves that the only way a musician could be in the group is if they really knew how to play.