May 22, 2024

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Who is today the child prodigy that was Bireli Lagrene? Video

04.09. – Happy Birthday !!! A wonderful musician, a guitar magician among the most dazzling, a “choreographer” of the six-string as we currently count on the fingers of one hand.

Biréli Lagrène is a gypsy jazz guitarist, born September 4, 1966, in Alsace, in the commune of Soufflenheim. Coming from a family of gipsy culture, he learns from his brother and his father the repertoire of Django Reinhardt.

From the outset, music was his language, and that of Reinhardt his school. An inevitable destiny when one is born, like him, in Alsace (in 1966), that one is born of the big gypsy family, and that luck designates you as a gifted one in the matter.

Spirit quick-money, Biréli will quickly pick up the story. Beyond the rigor that was his apprenticeship (with his father, then with his brother), this incredible mixture of strength and precision, Lagrene will have the grace to insignia never neglect the essential: “Django m ‘ helped to see what’s happening elsewhere, “he likes to remind.

Of this formidable lesson of freedom, which he was able to capture like no other, his first major public performances (notably in Montreux, in 1981 LINK) offer a striking testimony.

The young Lagrene quickly becomes a guitar virtuoso and meets Stéphane Grappelli, an illustrious jazz violinist of the 20th century. In addition to concerts with the violinist, during his teenage years, Biréli took part in a few tours with renowned artists such as Benny Carter, the Danish bass player Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen, and many others.

His style evolves over the years and his encounters. In his early days, the Reinhardt touch is felt, but quite quickly the young guitarist discovers new horizons with musicians such as Jimi Hendrix and George Benson, and a new musical current jazz fusion.

His meeting with the American bassist Jaco Pastorius, in 1985, invites him to improve as a bass player, an instrument on which Biréli can sometimes play in concert. Four years later, with Larry Coryell and Al di Meola, he formed a trio of outstanding guitarists.

gypsy jazz strings with loopsBoth side of his albums, Biréli Lagrène tries out several universes, an acoustic period with the album Acoustic Moments in 1990, a jazz fusion with the albums Inferno and Foreign Affairs in 1988 and 1989, and a reinterpretation jazz standards in 1992 with the album Standards. Again in 1994, he composes a trio with this time Chris Mink Doky and André Ceccarelli, the former drummer of Wild Cats.

The 90s will for Biréli those of recognition and consecration, obtained by playing the standards (“Live in Marciac”, 1994). Virtue of classicism (since Lagrene also has this card in stock).

Django d’Or in 1993, Victoire de la Musique in 2001 and 2002, Biréli collects the trophies, and at the dawn of the 2000s, comes up with an incredible challenge: to replay the music of his origins, while remaining himself. In this game usually dangerous, it is (alone, facing the mirror) one of the few not to sink into the pitfall of narcissism.

High flying exercise and real feat, the epic of the “Gipsy Project” is a triumph (which culminates with a “Live in Vienna” absolutely stunning). The loop is complete, and the time comes for one of the greatest guitarists of this time to go to new shores. New formula, new inspiration and new music to explore, closer to the blues, for a man definitely “in motion”.

In 1999, in collaboration with the guitarist Sylvain Luc, he works on the album Duet. Gipsy Project signs the return of Bireli to his first emotions. The year 2006 has two albums of the gypsy guitarist, but in different registers for him, To Bi Or Not To Bi a solo album and Djangology with the WDR Big Band.

Back to jazz fusion in 2008 with the album Electric Side. This album includes some of his compositions with the collaboration of a DJ. In 2009, Gipsy Trio marks his return to gypsy jazz with already refined collaborations, including bassist Diego Imbert, guitarist Hono Winterstein and saxophone Franck Wolf.

In 2012, the Minister of Culture, Frédéric Mitterrand, decorated him Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, award that consecrates Biréli Lagrène in his favorite artistic field, music.

Since 2015, Lagrène alternates between the Gipsy Project and Antonio Farao’s quartet.

Bireli au festival de Jazz

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