“Jazz, to me, is that primal archetype,” says legendary jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel on the phone, “and that primal archetype is the DNA for all the music in the 20th century.”
And on Wednesday, May 4, you can go and see him at Red Bird on his solo tour, performing 17 preludes for solo guitar called Django Impressionist.
He is perhaps the only musician in the world who can perform this material. His career shouldn’t go unnoticed, having toured the world while releasing 16 albums under his name and a nom de plume, The Django Experiment. His own works have been in Woody Allen’s Vicki Cristina Barcelona (“Big Brother”) and Midnight in Paris (“Bistro Fada”). Released on January 28, 2022, he also recorded the entire score for Rifkin’s Festival (starring Wallace Shawn, Gina Gershon and Christophe Waltz).
Specializing in the style of legendary composer/guitarist Django Reinhardt, Stephane Wrembel is one of the most highly regarded guitarists in the world. He’d play music with his Roma friends in the French countryside when he was a teenager, he told me, all the while learning about the Sinti culture.
“They were very welcoming people,” he says. “They go to a different school of life. They live a completely different lifestyle. They have a completely different contact with the world: a contact to nature, they are not bound by the corporations the way we are. A world within a world.”
Of course, Stephane has learned that this knowledge applies to other parts of the world, having been to India, South Korea, Nigeria, and so much more.
In October of 2019, Wrembel released the highly regarded Django L’Impressionniste, featuring 17 of Reinhardt’s preludes for solo guitar, followed by a book of his transcriptions in April 2021. “I am studying the foundation of music from the past: mainly jazz and whimsical jazz.”
In fall 2022, his other program, Shades of Django, will be presented in performing arts centres around the country.
“With Django L’impressioniste, I am the only one in the world today [who plays it],” says Stephane, “so if you want to hear it live, that’s the only opportunity to be in touch with that deep part of Django music, which is like the more dreamy and imaginative of Django. Its whole inner landscape is dream and imagination. It’s all content within it, and resonated with the entire Django world.”
Stephane Wrembel is performing at Red Bird (1165 Bank St) at 8pm on Wednesday, May 4, 2022. Tickets cost $30 plus taxes and fees online and at the door. Visit stephanewrembel.com for more information regarding his tour.