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Bir: Gypsy Project

Jim Santella By

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Re-creating the music of Django Reinhardt, this time focused on the years after 1940, Biréli Lagrène brings back vivid memories: a two-step swing foundation without the usual rhythm section, a soaring Stéphane Grappelli violin melody, and Reinhardt's graceful guitar, trading improvised thoughts. Lagrène is superb. On "Vout et Moi," he transposes the rare solo that guitarist Reinhardt originally recorded on violin in 1942. And he does so with heartfelt expression. Few guitarists can articulate as well. Like Reinhardt, Lagrène was born into a Gypsy family. He's been in the public eye since his widely recognized debut at age 13. Now in his mid-thirties, he's shared different kinds of music with his audiences, from pop and rock to fusion and swing. His decision to provide another tribute to Django Reinhardt comes as no surprise. It comes quite naturally to Lagrène. And, after all, there are folks all over the world who love swinging jazz. With two rhythm guitars and upright bass, this session flows with a natural spirit. Violinist Florin Niculescu shares most of the program's lead with Lagrène. Recommended, Gypsy Project is just what the doctor ordered.

Track Listing: Blues Clair; Coquette; Si Tu Savais; Belleville; Daphne (long version); Je Suis Seul Ce Soir; Swing 42; Embraceable You; Vous et Moi; Festival 48; Viper's Dream; What Is This Thing Called Love; La Mer; Lime House Blues; Daphne (short version).

Personnel: Bir

Title: Gypsy Project | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records

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