Jim Break


Younger brother of renowned drummer Marty Break, Jim Break was born in Hartford Connecticut at the tail end of the Indian summer of 1960. Being the son of legendary composer and conductor Stan Break, he got a taste of great musicianship at an early age as he practically grew up in Hollywood’s recording studios in the ‘60s after the Break family relocated there in ’62.

Jim, the youngest member of the musical family, first became enamoured with drums after watching Hal Meyer play on a session for the Sting Rays. Father Stan decided that one drummer was enough for any family however and persuaded his son to pursue keyboards rather than drums. Break took his father’s advice but also received tutelage from percussion player Philippe Benitez whenever the celebrated Cuban was in town.

Break immediately began to develop an unusual style on the keyboards and it is one that still has critics, fans and musicologists alike searching for an apt description to this day. He himself refers to his playing style as: “like the last day of school man – anything fuckin’ goes, you know?” Break found himself in favour as a session man in the mid to late ‘70s when he was still a teenager, as his ability on both keys and percussion meant only one man had to get paid instead of two.

Though his ability was never in question it is widely believed Break never truly realised his potential due to a mixture of unreliability and attitude. On the occasions he actually did turn up for recording sessions he was always late and often drunk or high. In one instance he tried to assault Carly Simon during the recording of “Nobody does it Better”, when Simon refused to arm wrestle him for money. His brother Marty was playing drums on the session and was so appalled by his siblings’ behaviour that he didn’t speak to him for over 20 years.

Because of his personal problems – alcoholism, drug dependence and a string of failed marriages – for which he never blamed himself, Break found big time jobs hard to come by from the early ‘80s onwards. He turned to writing music for pornographic films throughout the decade in an effort to make ends meet and once attempted to perform in one adult movie but got involved in a punch up with the leading ‘actress’ before the cameras even started rolling.

Break quit music in the early ‘90s and became a New York City cab driver. This ended with a short stint in prison in 1997 however when he had his licence revoked for driving under the influence of narcotics. It is believed that Break lived on the streets of Cleveland for a period after his release though he neither confirms nor denies this.

Break has turned his life around since entering rehab at the insistence of a North Dakotan court in 2002. A recent reconciliation with his brother Marty has led to him returning to the music business with Spring Break after a 15 year absence