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Gipsy Project & Friends

Biréli Lagrène

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Album Review

Guitarist Biréli Lagrène debuted on records in 1980 when he was 13, sounding exactly like Django Reinhardt. Since then he has explored fusion and post-bop jazz, eventually finding his way back to gypsy swing. On Gipsy Project & Friends, Lagrène teams up with up to four other guitarists, violinist Florin Niculescu (who recalls Stephane Grappelli), and bassist Diego Imbert. Unfortunately, the CD jacket does not tell which guitarist solos when, although chances are that nearly all of the guitar solos are Lagrène's. A few of the songs were written after Reinhardt's passing, but all of the hard-swinging and passionate music is very much in the tradition of Django's brand of swinging jazz and constantly displays effortless virtuosity.

Biography

Born: 04 September 1966 in Saverene, France

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

When Bireli Lagrene's Routes to Django: Live was issued in 1980, the 13-year-old jazz guitarist was immediately praised by critics as a protégé of Django Reinhardt. He had already won a prize in a festival at Strasbourg in 1978, and his appearance at a Gypsy festival was broadcast on television. For the next five years, Lagrene would mime Reinhardt's style, even recording versions of the master's "Nuages" and "Djangology" on Swing '81. Over time, however, his role as a protégé began to seem limited....
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Gipsy Project & Friends, Biréli Lagrène
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