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Blue Eyes

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Album Review

Throughout his career, Bireli Lagrene has often confounded expectations. He started out as a brilliant young Django Reinhardt impressionist; a few years later, he switched to rock-oriented fusion, and then returned to straight-ahead jazz with a more original (if blander) voice than he had displayed in his Django days. On this 1997 set Blue Eyes, a tribute to Frank Sinatra, Lagrene not only plays with swing and subtlety in a conventional quartet (with pianist Maurice Vander, bassist Chris Minh Doky, and drummer André Ceccarelli), but sings a few numbers quite effectively. The 13 selections include such standards as "The Lady Is a Tramp," "My Kind of Town," "Come Fly with Me" and "Luck Be a Lady" and are all associated with Sinatra; the treatments given by Lagrene and his quartet are melodic, tasteful and full of cheer.

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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Blue Eyes, Biréli Lagrène
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