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Bireli Lagrene Gipsy Project: Move

Andrew Velez By

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Listening to Bireli Lagrène's renditions of "Melodie au Crepuscule and "Hungaria instantly recalls his deeply bonded connection with the music, the style, and the sound of guitar legend Django Reinhardt. As inevitable as the Django connection seems to be, there is nothing shallow or merely imitative about Lagrène's playing. As this latest set attests, he's a deliciously enjoyable, absolutely contemporary musician in his own right.

As a child prodigy at age four (he's now an ancient 39!), Lagrène quickly became widely known as an "infant Django." The son of a jazz guitarist and a gypsy of Sinti origin (just like Reinhardt), he has been playing jazz since age seven.

There are swift tempos aplenty on Move. On the title piece, a Denzil Best/Paul Walsh tune, Lagrène, Franck Wolf (saxophone) and Hono Winterstein (guitar) go top speed through every red light. Yet happily, they don't take the set at the famously breakneck pace which has characterized so many of his previous performances, sometimes to the detriment of the music.

Along with a dazzling take on Reinhardt's own "Hungaria that can leave your ears breathless, there's a meditative, smoky blue "Clair De Lune which has a few unlisted whiffs of "It Might As Well Be Spring thrown in for good measure. Lagrene's own "Place Du Tertre is a pastel piece so mellow it verges on the bland, while another Reinhardt tune, "Dance Norvegienne, makes for a deeper dialogue between a pensive Lagrène and the responsive sax of Wolf.

As satisfying as that is, the main course comes when Lagrène and his guys pull out all the stops on "Cherokee. Cooked and basted to perfection, this piece is their own irresistible serving of Dixieland pour le millennium.

Track Listing

Un Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi; Melodie Au Crepuscule; Hungaria; Clair de Lune; Place due Tertre; Troublant Bolero; Move; Nuages; Cherokee; Danse Norvegienne; This Can't Be Love; Victor; Mimosa; Jadis.

Personnel

Bireli Lagrene: guitars; Hono Winterstein: guitars; Franck Wolf: soprano, tenor and baritone saxophone; Diego Imbert: double bass.

Album information

Title: Move | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records

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