Bireli Lagrene, A Tribute to Django Reinhardt

Alyn Shipton

By Alyn Shipton

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
The gypsy guitar jazz tradition lives on in this brilliant recording.

Among the Roma, the guitar tradition that spawned Django Reinhardt is still going strong, and after a heady start as a child prodigy, Bireli Lagrene, born in 1966, has established himself as a true virtuoso in the wake of Django. He still talks longingly about a childhood spent around campfires playing guitars into the small hours, although he'd cut his first albums at 14 and launched a career far away from his home region of the Rhine country west of Strasbourg. Acclaimed as a fusion guitarist, he has worked with Jaco Pastorius and Larry Coryell, as well as touring with Gil Evans, but he has always retained his skill on and affection for the acoustic instrument, and on this album his reinterpretation of a Django gem such as “Minor Swing” shows how brilliantly he interprets the traditional repertoire.