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Bireli Lagrene Trio: Gypsy Trio

Read "Gypsy Trio" reviewed by Victor L. Schermer

While his playing reflects diverse influences, guitarist Biréli Lagrène clearly comes out of the gypsy tradition of Django Reinhardt, whose 100th birthday is being celebrated in 2010. Gypsy Trio captures the feeling of Reinhardt's musical era, with some tunes, rhythms, and the atmosphere of a lively Paris nightclub between the two world wars--energetic and fun, but equally contemplative on lovely ballads, including Lagrène's “Sir F.D," and The Beatles' “Something." Lagrène plays with strong feeling, sometimes reminiscent of Charlie Byrd's acoustic ...

EXTENDED ANALYSIS

Bireli Lagrene: Djangology/To Bi Or Not To Bi

Read "Bireli Lagrene: Djangology/To Bi Or Not To Bi" reviewed by Larry Taylor

Bireli Lagrene Djangology/To Bi Or Not To Bi Dreyfus Records 2007

Bireli Lagrene, heir apparent to the legacy of legendary Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, has recently released an outstanding two-CD set, Djangology/To Bi Or Not To Bi . The first disc was recorded live with the powerhouse German big band, WDR; the second is a solo endeavor that showcases Lagrene's remarkable virtuosity.

Born in Germany in 1966, within a traditional Gypsy community, ...

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Bireli Lagrene: Swing

Read "Swing " reviewed by Jim Santella

Guitarist Biréli Lagrène recorded this tribute to the swing jazz of Django Reinhardt when he was only fourteen (and it was his second album release!). From a Gypsy family in the French region of Alsace, he started out as a child prodigy who learned from his father and brother. But it was the recordings of Reinhardt that affected him the most. This reissue features Lagrène with two rhythm guitarists, one double bassist and guest appearances by drummer Allen Blairman on ...

FILM REVIEWS

Bir

Read "Bir" reviewed by Jim Santella

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 ...

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Bireli Lagrene Gipsy Project: Move

Read "Move" reviewed by Andrew Velez

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!), ...

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Bireli Lagrene and Gipsy Project: Move

Read "Move" reviewed by Jim Santella

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 ...

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Bir: Gipsy Project & Friends

Read "Gipsy Project & Friends" reviewed by Trevor MacLaren

Once again Django disciple Biréli Lagrène has released an exquisite record: Gipsy Project & Friends is one of the finest guitar jazz discs of the year! Pulling together players like Florin Niculescu on violin, Hono Winterstein and Holzmano Lagrène on guitar, and the great Henri Salvador on vocals, Biréli Lagrène has mined the depths of Django's legacy. As with his past recordings, the guitarist approaches his instrument with a subtle and graceful motion that cascades in much the same way ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bir: Gypsy Project

Read "Gypsy Project" reviewed by Jim Santella

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 ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bireli Lagrene: Routes To Django/Bireli Swing '81

Read "Routes To Django/Bireli Swing '81" reviewed by Douglas Payne

Close your eyes and play any one of the 28 songs on this two-disc set. Guess when the recordings were made, who's playing and how old the player is. It sounds like the catchy, acoustic guitar swing pioneered by Django Reinhardt at the Hot Club de France in Paris during the 1930s.Hard as it is to believe, though, these recordings were made during the early 1980s, when fusion and disco reigned in jazz. Even more surprising, the fingers ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bireli Lagrene w/Larry Coryell & Miroslav Vitous: Special Guests

Read "Special Guests" reviewed by AAJ Staff

“Are you ready?” Bireli Lagrene shouts with excitement. “Yeah...I am,” says Larry Coryell; he sounds testy but all is forgotten as we dive in a bed of strings. The crowd is still: the two strum mightily and then Bireli starts the theme, a Coryell line with a bit of flamenco. Notes wiggle and twist, with a metallic bite. Coryell adds a muscular rhythm part; loud broad strokes Bireli fights to play above. Larry’s turn sparkles: a frantic 12-string with airy ...

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Bireli Lagrene: Blue Eyes

Read "Blue Eyes" reviewed by John Sharpe

Recorded in June 1997, Blue Eyes showcases Europe’s master guitarist riffing on 13 classic tunes made famous by “The Voice." It’s a relaxed, yet hard-swingin’ session, highlighted by Lagrene’s fluid guitar stylings and Maurice Vanders’ joyful piano solos. Lagrene even includes a couple of vocals to the set and his renditions of The Lady Is A Tramp and You Make Me Feel So Young are surprisingly good. In light of his recent passing, a poignant and loving tribute to the ...

ALBUM REVIEWS

Bireli Lagrene: Blue Eyes

Read "Blue Eyes" reviewed by Jim Santella

This straight-ahead jazz session from guitarist Bireli Lagrene, pianist Maurice Vander, bassist Chris Minh Doky, and drummer Andre Ceccarelli features songs identified with Frank Sinatra. It was recorded in June 1997 as a tribute to the singer who influenced each of the quartet's members as they were growing up and listening to music from all around the world. Audiences know Lagrene, a 31-year-old Frenchman who was born to a Gypsy family, as a mainstream guitarist in the Django Reinhardt tradition. ...


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