May 28, 2024

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CD review: Bireli Lagrene – Plays Loulou Gaste – 2023: Video, CD cover

After twenty studio albums in forty years of career (to which are added no less than five live performances and as many collaborations, whether with Marcus Miller, Michel Petrucciani, Lenny White, Kenny Garrett, Stanley Clarke, Jean-Luc Ponty, Larry Coryell or Sylvain Luc), Biréli Lagrène returns to us with his Gipsy Trio (Hono Winterstein and Diego Imbert), for a tribute to the successful composer Loulou Gasté.

Manager and husband of Line Renaud for 45 years, the latter shared with Biréli a boundless admiration for the Patron Saint of the gypsy jazz guitar, Django Reinhardt. It is therefore with the delighted blessing of Mademoiselle d’Armentières that Biréli and his gang revisit a dozen emblematic titles here, from “Ma Cabane Au Canada” to “Ces P’tites Choses Là”. This opportunity will only offend the philistine and the narrow-minded. Indeed, not only did Django himself, like many jazzmen of his time, not shy away from adapting a few popular hits (which he transfigured with his unstoppable inspiration and playing), but Louis Gasté (known as Loulou ) was also a guitarist (and banjoist) keen on jazz, and a fervent zealot of Django (did he not start in this position within Ray Ventura’s Collégiens?).

We will particularly highlight among this anthology the obvious successes that constitute “Un Amour d’Été” (in sensitive bossa style Baden Powell), “Too Beautiful to be True”, “Pour La Bonne Raison” or even “Le soir”, “Sainte -Madeleine” and “L’Ame Au Diable”, all worthy of the Master’s Hot Club de France period, and of course “Feelings” (“Pour Toi”, even “Dis Lui” by Mike Brant), whose authorship made the subject of a Homeric legal battle, which Gasté won before the French and American courts, at the end of a procedure which lasted six years.

1. Ma cabane au Canada (2:38)
2. Rose de Mai (3:23)
3. Feelings (Pour toi) (4:21)
4. Amour d’été (4:44)
5. Trop beau pour être vrai (2:32)
6. Pour la bonne raison (3:14)
7. Le soir (3:52)
8. Sainte-Madeleine (3:15)
9. L’âme au diable (2:42)
10. If I Love (4:19)
11. Ces p’tites choses-là (4:38)
12. Django (3:37)

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