Are you into breaks? Yes? Awesome. Waaaaait a minute. I don’t mean the type of breaks where you escape from your desk and hide out in a bathroom stall for an hour, or that little 15-minute chunk of time that your employer thinks will rejuvenate you, and keep you all chipper and sh*t.
Since I’m not caffeinated enough to explain it myself, let’s look to the definition on Wikipedia:
A solo break in jazz occurs when the rhythm section stops playing behind a soloist for a brief period, usually two or four bars leading into the soloist’s first chorus. A notable recorded example is Charlie Parker‘s solo break at the beginning of his solo on “A Night in Tunisia“.
In DJ parlance, a break is where all elements of a song (e.g., pads, basslines, vocals), except for percussion, disappear for a time. This is distinguished from a breakdown, a section where the composition is deliberately deconstructed to minimal elements (usually the percussion or rhythm section with the vocal re-introduced over the minimal backing), all other parts having been gradually or suddenly cut out. The distinction between breaks and breakdowns may be described as, “Breaks are for the drummer; breakdowns are for hands in the air”.
In hip hop and electronica, a short break is also known as a “cut”, and the reintroduction of the full bass line and drums is known as a “drop“, which is sometimes accented by cutting off everything, even the percussion
So now we’re on the same page, let’s move on and check out this mix by Kon + Amir, a DJ/Production duo who are renown for their On Track/Off Track releases, showcasing their heavy record collection and deep knowledge of breaks and music. This aired on Gilles Peterson’s BBC 1 Radio show, and is a mixture of breaks, party jams and old-school faves; remastered/remixed/mixed for your listening pleasure. Big ups to Mike Nice for sharing this with me.
Enjoy! It’s time for a break over here. Off to the farmer’s market- more later.