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Bireli Lagrene and Gipsy Project: Move

Jim Santella By

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In a celebration of the music of Django Reinhardt, Biréli Lagrène uses his virtuostic technique to interpret classic songs from several different jazz eras. The album's title track, by Denzil Best, was one of bebop's early anthems. Reinhardt originals recall the swing tradition that the gypsy guitarist espoused, while fresh originals honor his memory with a personal nod.

"Move" places the quartet in an up-tempo meeting of the minds. Lagrène and saxophonist Frank Wolf improvise at length over the tune's basic theme with their hands on fire. Rhythm guitar and double bass provide in-step support as Lagrène and Wolf churn the waters of improvisation. "Cherokee" moves at a fiery pace with similar results. On soprano, Wolf sparkles with lightning-fast speed, while Lagrène's fingers move in a blur of animated motion. Their cohesive rapport provides a tight sequence of events.

Slow ballads such as Reinhardt's "Nuages" and his "Danse Norvégienne" allow their melodies to float gently. Lagrène's quartet captures the essence of Django Reinhardt completely, as the foursome reaches inside and brings out heartfelt passion. The emphasis, of course, is on the virtuosity of lead guitarist Lagrène and saxophonist Wolf. Because they've chosen to reform the Gipsy Project as a quartet, their sound proves light, mellow, and swinging. The combination of genuine passion for Reinhardt's music and the artists' virtuosic displays makes Move a real winner. Highly recommended, it's bound to affect our readers similarly, with a high regard for what jazz can do for your soul.


Track Listing: Un Certain je ne Sais Quoi; Melodie au Cr

Personnel: Bireli Lagrene- guitar; Frank Wolf- alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone; Diego Imbert- bass; Homo Winterstein- guitar.

Title: Move | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Dreyfus Records


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