Bourgie Hall presents

Stéphane Wrembel

Fascinated by the “classical” side of the illustrious Django Reinhardt, guitarist Stéphane Wrembel reveals the melodic inventiveness of some of his lesser-known pieces, their rhythmic impetus and their harmony, comparable to Debussy and Ravel, whom Django Reinhardt greatly admired.

Stephane Wrembel is quite simply one of the finest guitar players in the world. The breadth and range of his playing and compositions are unmatched. This prolific musician from France has been releasing a steady stream of music since 2002 and has truly made his mark as one of the most original guitar voices in contemporary music. David Fricke at Rolling Stone Magazine called him “a revelation.”

His live performance is unparallel. Wrembel has headlined Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Town Hall in NYC and The Lyon Opera House in France, toured with master violinist Mark O’Connor and shared stages with everyone from Sam Bush, Stochelo Rosenberg, Esperanza Spalding, and Al Di Meola. Wrembel has dazzled audiences at such major gatherings as the Montreal Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Django Reinhardt Festival in France, Ellnora–The Guitar Festival, Caramoor Jazz Festival presented by Jazz at Lincoln Center and many others. He has toured Canada, France, Israel, UK, India and Nigeria. In 2003, Wrembel created his own annual event, Django A Gogo Festival, where he and others influenced by Reinhardt celebrate the Sinti guitar style. The Gitane guitar company has even named a model after him.

“Perhaps the most creative improviser in Gypsy jazz today, Mr. Wrembel plays the guitar with a rich and colorful lyricism.” –  New York Times

Born in Paris and raised in Fontainebleau, the home of Impressionism and Django Reinhardt, Wrembel first studied classical piano, beginning at the age of four. But in his mid-teens, he discovered that he had an affinity for guitar. A Pink Floyd fan, he “spent hours learning David Gilmour’s style,” he said. “So I had a classical background, a passion for rock music, and then I found out about Django. I fell in love with the very strong impressionist feel in his music.”

Reinhardt was a Sinti (a Roma group from Western Europe) and his style was rooted in Sinti music. Not a Gypsy himself, Wrembel immersed himself in Sinti culture, spending “six, seven years going to the camps, playing for Gypsy weddings, parties, playing with Gypsy friends,” he said. “By going there I started learning the atmosphere of what it really means to play Sinti-style guitar. I learned from the masters, from Angelo Debarre and Serge Krief, and I played in the campsites a lot. That’s how you learn this music, because it’s a specific to a culture. Music is not only the notes. Without the culture, something is missing.”

“Stephane Wrembel just might be the greatest acoustic guitarist alive.” — The Aquarian

And while Wrembel is now considered one of the preeminent master guitarists in the world specialized in the Django Reinhardt style, he avoids the label “Gypsy Jazz” commonly used for Reinhardt’s music. While heavily influenced by Reinhardt, Wrembel’s music incorporates jazz, blues, classical, swing, flamenco and rock. All of these influences come together as a genre identifiable only as Stephane Wrembel.

Wrembel enrolled in Berklee College of Music in 2000 in Boston and graduated summa cum laude two years later. In 2002, he released his debut album, Introducing Stephane Wrembel. Vintage Guitar Magazine praised the recording as “pure dazzle and dash, a stunning storm of notes that blankets the melody in a rain of arpeggiated notes.

“For North Americans, Stephane Wrembel represents the living face of gypsy jazz.” – New York Observer

Wrembel revels in transcending and expanding.  “I just play my own music,” he says. “I like to believe that it is beyond any one genre and that there is something in it for everyone. It’s not only for the rock music lover, or for the Django lover; it’s not only for the jazz lover. It’s for the music lover.”

Thursday, May 5, 2022 at 8:00pm
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