Welcome to Soft and Groovy Productions
September 2012 - Emily will be in Boston, at Berklee School Of Music, for the Wednesday October, 3rd screening of ''The Genius Of Lenny Breau''. It will be followed by a Q&A session.
As followers of this website and fans of Lenny Breau know, the re-release of "The Genius of Lenny Breau" was temporarily delayed, but we're happy to tell you that the wait will be worth it. We have unearthed a collection of footage that was not included in the initial release of the film; these never-before-seen outtakes will be included as part of the re-release, to be distributed shortly. Some of this footage includes previously unseen interviews with Chet Atkins, Ted Greene, Leonard Cohen, and many others. The bonus tracks on the new edition will thrill Lenny's fans and make the film an instant collector's item. Stay tuned to this website for the actual re-release date.
Just as exciting is a commitment made recently to Emily from a member of rock royalty’s tops guitarists, also an accomplished photographer; his name is withheld until the ink is dry, but news of his identity will be issued here first! He has always been supportive of Emily’s work and is a huge fan of Lenny’s. Check with this website over the next weeks to find out who our star photographer is!
Heartfelt thanks to everyone who has submitted still photographs, some of which may be included in the sequel to "The Genius of Lenny Breau". We're still on the hunt for more previously unpublished stills of Lenny, so we encourage you to submit any photographs you may have in your old concert memories albums, meet and greet opportunities, or any other sources. You don't have to have been a professional shooter to have a worthy picture of Lenny that we can include in the sequel film!
Emily is excited to have received and approved the cover art for the re-release of "The Genius of Lenny Breau" DVD. It is an original painting by New York artist John Froehlich, his second commissioned abstract painting of Lenny Breau.
There are cool new additions to our video page, new stills in the photo gallery, and some insightful quotes about Lenny's playing and innovations on his page. Check it out!
Did you now Prince Charles is a Lenny Breau fan?...
He enjoys a variety of Breau's works and is an outspoken fan.
The remarkable stage play, "5 O'Clock Bells", profiling Lenny Breau, written and (usually) performed by Ottawa-based actor and playwright, Pierre Brault, offers huge appeal to those who knew and/or admired Lenny. News of upcoming productions will be included on this website in the future.
Have you singed our Guest Book? It just takes a minute and we'd love to know who is visiting the site, so please add your name and contact information.
Emily with the legendary Herbie Hancock - November 2011 in Calgary, Alberta.
Photo by Vanessa Conley
Click On Image to Enlarge
Emily Hughes is an award-winning filmmaker, and the daughter of the late guitar virtuoso Lenny Breau, and jazz-singer, Judi Singh.
Growing up, Hughes was constantly exposed to jazz: “Mom was a fan of everything from vocalists, Ella, Sarah and Flora Purim to jazz/rock fusion. In her career, among many things, my mother has written for and recorded with the likes of the late Woody Shaw.”
“When I was little, my mother taught me how to really listen to music,” Hughes recalls. “I remember her putting on a jazz record and saying, ‘Just listen to the drums, nothing else.’ And then a few minutes later she would say, ‘Now just listen to the bass.’ She also taught me the beauty of improvisation and the freedom that comes with it.”
Hughes’ leap from music to media was gradual, evolving from her start appearing in numerous print ads, and then as an actor in international television commercials for Crest and McDonald’s, to film and commercial TV; she co-anchored the live variety show, “The Edge”.
The collective influences and experiences of her life inspired Hughes in 1999 to make her compelling, Gemini Award-winning documentary, “The Genius of Lenny Breau”, an intimate study of her father’s life and works. The film is an emotional tour de force of the man Hughes loved as a father, but saw too little of, thanks to his extraordinary devotion to music and his tumultuous personal life. It pays heed to his trials and tribulations, but never fails to honour his many triumphs.
For the film, Hughes had the privilege of interviewing her father’s friends, colleagues and admirers, such as the now-late Chet Atkins, Andy Summers, Leonard Cohen, Randy Bachman, Liona Boyd, George Benson and Pat Metheney. Originally aired on the Bravo Network, the film garnered its Gemini Award in 2001, and went on to win several other international film festival awards. With gritty strength and a balanced nuance, the film’s staying power has been paramount, encouraging Hughes, who remains impressed by the on-going keen interest in her work, to produce a follow-up that takes the journey further and deeper.
In producing the first film, Hughes retraced her father’s steps, travelling roads that less stalwart and ambitious souls might have feared to explore. “It has been cathartic, of course,” Hughes acknowledges. “And I’ve had to walk through some pretty dark valleys.”
In the process, she learned more about the father she seldom saw as she was growing up. “My memories of Lenny are few,” she admits. “But he and Mom reconciled a few times when I was a kid. I’ll always remember the long, elegant fingernails on Lenny’s right hand, and that they were filed right down on his fretting hand; that stood out to a little girl.” Without excuse or apology, Hughes notes, “Although he wasn’t a father in the traditional sense, what he passed on to me was priceless.”
To this day, Hughes has a deep, abiding love for the guitar. Although she studied the instrument, she discovered that her natural ability did not match the unusually high standard that she had set for herself. “I found it discouraging that I couldn’t play what I liked the most,” she says. What she does like the most is the music of fusion luminaries like Mike Stern and John Scofield. She is also a fan of Tommy Emmanuel, Phil deGruy and Derek Trucks.
Ten years after “The Genius of Lenny Breau” was produced, Hughes, under the banner of Soft and Groovy Productions, is hard at work on the second feature to profile her father’s life, with a plan for art-house theatrical release, followed by television broadcast and release on DVD.
We will post news and updates on this website as they come available.
NEWS and UPDATES
Location shoots for the new sequel film have taken place in Nashville and Maine. The film is progressing; early results are relaxed, moving, simply stunning. And there’s something exceptional in the works, too… There have been a few notable rock royalty stars that have added “photographer” to their extensive résumés, and one such stellar guitarist has committed to shooting stills for the next film. For now, we have to keep his identity secret, but as soon as all the details are settled, we’ll announce this extraordinary collaboration right here! Stay tuned…
Jazz legend, Herbie Hancock, recently met Emily in Calgary, and declared his support for her accomplishments in making “The Genius of Lenny Breau” as well as her efforts at creating the sequel. Hancock worked with Woody Shaw back in the old days; Emily’s mother, Judi Singh, recorded with Shaw, enabling an instant connection between Emily Hughes and Herbie Hancock. Now in his 70s, Hancock continues to play jazz, classical, and a vast range of other music genres; he is looking forward to seeing the sequel and stands behind the production, with enthusiasm.
On the 25th anniversary of her father’s untimely death, Emily Hughes attended a Lenny Breau festival, in Breau’s birthplace, Auburn, Maine. Armed with her innate sense of Lenny, and her producer’s ear and eye, she and cinematographer, Thom Bresh, himself a gifted guitarist and the son of guitar legend Merle Travis, captured images on film. From concerts to fan comments and family gatherings, this footage is intended for inclusion in the upcoming documentary and will help to give it the human sensibility that Hughes envisions.
“This film will differ in style from the first,” says Emily. ”For example, I want to do an animated sequence. And, among other things, we’ll be highlighting Lenny’s sense of humour, more so than we did in the previous film. And on a darker note, Lenny’s murder case has been re-opened, so we will be following its progress.”
Film buffs, guitarists, and music fans alike will be curious to see what more magic Hughes can conjure with her fascinating subject. But one interview will be conspicuous in its absence. “New York was set to be our next location shoot, where we were to interview Les Paul, but we learned, sadly, he had passed away.”
Hughes is collaborating with a new Toronto-based co-producer and is mapping out her next location shoot, her mind constantly working the line that blurs genius and heredity before the eye of the camera, the memory of Lenny alive in his daughter’s capable hands.
Check in with www.softandgroovy.com for further news and updates as they happen.