Critically acclaimed French guitarist Bireli Lagrene will return to New York City next month to perform at Rose Theater at Lincoln Center as part of the Django Reinhardt & Charlie Christian: Celebration of the Jazz Guitar, May 2 and May 3.
This will be Lagrene's first US appearance in three years since his successful Move tour in 2005, which included a week-long sell-out engagement at the Iridium Jazz Club in New York as well as concert performances in seven major cities including Austin, Los Angeles and San Diego.
This time, Lagrene will be back on stage as a featured guitarist with three prominent American Jazz guitar masters: Russell Malone, Bobby Broom and Frank Vignola. Accompanying them will be Lewis Nash on drums with Peter Washington on bass, Mulgrew Miller on piano and Frank Weiss on flute/sax. Together, they will perform the music of Django and Christian as they celebrate their recent induction into the prestigious Nesuhi Ertegun Jazz Hall of Fame.
Born in the Alsace region of France in 1966, Bireli Lagrene took a significant role in reviving the "Hot Club” style of jazz (created by Django in the 1930's and '40s) with his debut CD, Routes To Django. Released when Lagrene was only 13, it was an international sensation. At 18, after touring the world playing Reinhardt's music for five years, he shocked his fans by turning away from acoustic jazz in favor of more modern electric sounds. In the 80's, he teamed up with legendary Weather Report electric bassist Jaco Pastorius to put his own stamp on the burgeoning jazz fusion sound, and found contemporaries in such luminaries as Larry Coryell and John McLaughlin. In 2002, he again stunned and thrilled the music world when he returned to his roots and formed the Gipsy Project. With hundreds of thousands of albums sold worldwide of Django Reinhardt music, Lagrene is viewed by many critics and fans as the greatest living interpreter of Django Reinhardt, and he is often called one of the world's greatest guitarists.
On his latest release, Bireli Lagrene proves again why peers, critics and fans consider him to be one of the world's most skillful and versatile jazz guitarists. Just The Way You Are, Dreyfus Jazz (DRY-CD-36908), joins Lagrene for the fourth time with the now internationally renowned Gipsy Project band to create a fusion of musical styles including jazz fusion, contemporary jazz guitar, the Gypsy swing style and other musical influences like material from Elvis Presley, George Benson, Billy Joel, and a variety of jazz and swing standards. Lagrene also commemorated his 40th birthday last year with the double-disc release of Djangology/To Bi Or Not To Bi, which documented the full scope of the gypsy guitarist's genius in two separate recordings: Djangology, a swinging collaboration with the WDR Big Band from Köln, Germany and To Bi Or Not To Bi, a stunning live solo set. His stellar live performances can be viewed in full length on two recent DVD releases: Live In Paris (DRY-DV-36685) and Live Jazz A Vienne (DRY-DV-36662). Both feature his thrilling Gipsy Project band offering unforgettable musical fireworks before enthusiastic audiences.