"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 late 90's hip hop party that Miles promoted 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 funky ass classic & new original 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 & Miles' 11 year partner in Rootdown, Carlos Guaico.
Miles' inspiration to form the Breakestra began when he fell in love with hip-hop after hearing groups like the Jungle Brothers and historic records like the Ultramagnetic MC's' Critical Beatdown in the late 1980s - the era in which tons of dusty drum breaks and funky samples first saw the light of day.
If we were to construct a family tree of LA bands, Breakestra would be mentioned in the same breath as Weapon of Choice, Fishbone, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane's Addiction, Mesh of Mind and Ozomatli. These bands began in backyard jam sessions and random open mics held throughout the city from Echo Park to Venice, Highland Park to Topanga Canyon. Those early days were just after the '92 Riots. Musicians from all over the city became tighter and many experimental jam sessions occurred fusing genres like funk, hip-hop, rock and acoustic soul resulting in truly innovative, multiculturaL music. Musical friendships between cats like Miles, Mixmaster Wolf, Cut Chemist, Carlos Guaico and many others became the seeds for landmark clubs and two indie record labels that still flourish to this day.
After two years in the lab Miles & Wolf are ready to bring their latest original funky soul jazz flavors & deep funky classics to the folks of L.A. & the rest of the world.Most likely their work "Dusk till Dawn" will be released in early September on Strut records.
Late one summer night in 2007, Nina Zeitlin walked up to the front of a long taxi line at JFK and said, “Is anyone going to Brooklyn?” She knew she was lucky to hitch a ride with Josh Green, the guy at the front of the line, but she didn’t know that this shared cab ride was the beginning of a far more significant ride.
A week later, Josh (guitarist) and Nina (vocals) ran into each other at Southpaw in Brooklyn. The two vowed to connect in the coming days to play some music, but it took yet another chance meeting outside of a bar in Manhattan on Josh’s birthday for them to follow through. Their fortuitous third encounter forced them to take notice and that weekend they wrote what would be the beginnings of the first heylady tunes.
Josh and Nina have been playing together ever since, enlisting fellow musicians Dave Cohen (vocals/keys), Michael DeVellis (sax/violin/ewi), Daniel Gould (drums), and Jake Leschinsky (bass) to join the band. Heylady debuted in 2009 and now play all over the northeast. They recently opened for George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic to a crowd of over 15,000 people.
Heylady’s music is infused with soul, funk, rock, and pop that appeals to a wide variety of musical tastes. Having released a self-produced, mixed, and mastered EP, they’re currently working on their first full-length LP, which flows with listener-friendly hooks, vibrant melodies, and tight harmonic vocals.