Dec 132010

Gypsy Jazz Guitarist, Homage to Django

Bireli Lagrene (1966 – ) is a guitar virtuoso, who could play Django Reinhardt‘s repertoire at the age of eight.

One of the things about the legendary jazz guitarists is that they believe the naked, unprocessed sound of the guitar is beautiful in and of itself. While they may go to great lengths to set up their guitars for just the right tone and action, for the most part, they tend to avoid electronic effects. Although In the studio, at least reverb would likely be used. Clean playing–every note fully articulated–is highly valued over fast licks or runs. You could say the same thing about really good pianists or other instrumentalists. The epitome of clean piano playing, in my opinion si Glenn Gould. In other genres, guitar effects are de riguer.

Here he plays a jazz standard, “Stella by Starlight”.

This is a clip of Bireli Lagrene and guitarist Sylvan Luc playing Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely”. Sylvan Luc is just as awesome a player as Legrene. These two guitarists have a wonderful CD of their playing as a duo. Isn’t She Lovely”, “Blackbird”, and even a good version of the ’80’s song, “Time After Time” are on it.

Here he is playing Chick Corea’s “Spain” along with bassist, and 2 other guitarists.

This guitarists gives a lesson on playing a “Gypsy” standard in the style of Django Reinhardt, “Minor Swing”. The way he names the fret numbers and talks about what he is playing is easy to follow and very helpful.

Bereli Legrene on Wikipedia

Dec 122010

Django Reinhardt, The Gypsy King

Django Reinhardt (1910-1953), was born to gypsies, and was a composer and guitar virtuoso. At 18, a fire severely damaged his left hand. He learned to play with just 2 fingers, and could do so at lightning speed.

His quintet, the “Hot Club of France”, featuredStephane Grapelli, Django, Bass, and two “D-Hole” acoustic guitarists. Martin Taylor has a tribute band, but with different instrumentation. There is a whole school of guitar virtuosi carrying on the tradition that also includes Bireli Lagrene, and Stochelo Rosenberg, and many others well-known and not so well-known. Continue reading »

Dec 122010

Martin Taylor, Guitar Virtuoso of Jazz Styles

Martin Taylor (1956 – ) was practically born with a guitar in his hand. The guitarist Pat Metheny has said he is “is one of the most awesome solo guitar players in the history of the instrument. He’s unbelievable”. His influences include Django Reinhardt, Wes Montgomery, Ted Greene and Art Tatum. He is equally comfortable with pick or fingers.

Below are videos of both “Stella By Starlight” and “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” which you can compare with Birelli Gegrene’z version. Continue reading »