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Album Review

French guitarist Bireli Lagrene's recent work has helped to reinvigorate the classic gypsy swing style while simultaneously adding excitement and diversity to the world's jazz market. On Move, Lagrene and his Gipsy Project really spice up his Django Reinhardt-influenced chops and cleverly arrange some of the more memorable standards and jazz styles launched on America's shores including bebop and cool. There are so many exceptional works in the Great American Songbook that it would be almost irresponsible not to include a few in one's repertoire. "Cherokee," and "This Can't Be Love," make the cut this time as two carefully placed covers that add familiarity to Lagrene's set. Ripe with five of Reinhardt's great compositions, including "Melodie au Crepuscule," "Hungaria," "Troublant Bolero," "Nuages," and "Danse Norvegienne," Lagrene's technical prowess shines on with his classy Le Hot Club of France sound that is utilized by a quartet instead of with his previous larger ensembles. Originals by Lagrene add brilliance in the form of "Place du Tertre" and "Jadis," while "Un Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi," "Victor," and "Mimosa," penned by quartet members Diego Imbert, Franck Wolf, and Hono Winterstein respectfully, meet the previous standards of expertise set with The Gipsy Project in 2001 and Gipsy Project & Friends in 2002. One of the best covers on the CD is "Cherokee" because of the swinging solos by Lagrene and Wolf. In place of the traditional Le Hot Club of France front line of guitar and violin, Bireli is joined by saxophonist Franck Wolf. Wolf plays a "mean" melody on soprano sax replacing the clarinet lead that is so often heard on other renditions. Lagrene turns pensive and beautiful with complimentary chords that heighten Wolf's tender melody on "Danse Norvegienne." Overall, Move is a wonderfully diverse and solid musical experience that will stimulate your penchant for Django Reinhardt's music and find it fulfilled by the modernistic style of Bireli Lagrene's superior guitar playing.


Born: September 4, 1966 in Saverene, France

Genre: Jazz

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

When Biréli Lagrène'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, Lagrène 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....
Full Bio
Move, Biréli Lagrène
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: Feb 22, 2005

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