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Jim Santella By

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Biréli Lagrène
Live In Paris
Dreyfus Records
2005

Biréli Lagrène and Gipsy Project interpret music from all over the world in this program of swing, bebop, blues and ballads. The New Morning nightclub is a large venue, but the set-up affords Lagrène's quartet intimacy and great acoustics. The lighting and camera work provide excellent visuals, while the program's audio remains centered as the DVD's focus.

The clarity with which Lagrène issues his solo sections and powerful embellishments can be astonishing. Gifted is too mild a word for the talent that he shows. For this concert, he follows a format that allows him to share solo space with saxophonist Franck Wolf. Both come across with spirits soaring, while bass and rhythm guitar provide a sure foundation.

Swing dominates the program. Charlie Parker and Wes Montgomery are represented through the influences that they've given the music. Ethnic variety steps in to give Lagrène's program plenty of spice. "Troublant Bolero offers a taste of classical Spanish guitar, while "Hungaria adds a Gypsy flavor to the concert's swing aura. "Freedom Jazz Dance, an encore, stands out for its mainstream jazz appeal.

The DVD includes a 25-minute documentary, in French (with optional English subtitles), in which Lagrène discusses his connections to Django Reinhardt and contemporary music and provides insight into the concert from a back stage point of view.


Tracks: Donna Lee; Danse Norvegienne; Un Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi; Cherokee; Nuages; Mimosa; Victor; Place Du Tertre; Clair De Lune; Troublant Bolero; Hungaria; Minor Swing; Move; Solo; Freedom Jazz Dance; Isn't She Lovely.

Personnel: Biréli Lagrène: guitar, electric bass; Franck Wolf: tenor and soprano saxophone; Hono Winterstein: guitar; Diego Imbert: double bass.

Program Notes: Directed by Patrick Savey. Approximate concert running time 1 hour 45 minutes. Special features include: Documentary, Discography.


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