Album:My Favorite Django
French guitarist Bireli Lagrene started out as a teenage Django Reinhart impersonator. He has played other kinds of music including fusion. But he always returns to Reinhardt as he did with this 1995 CD My Favorite Django. He was born Sept. 4, 1966 in Soufflenheim, France in a gypsy family. His father played guitar and was a big Django Reinhardt fan. Lagrene started playing guitar at age five. After winning a music competition in Strasbourg, Germany, he went on tour and recorded his debut album in 1980. By the mid-80s, Lagrene moved to the US. His biggest influence there was guitarist Larry Coryell who got him working with guys like Miroslav Vitous and Jaco Pastorius. He recorded four albums for Blue Note from 1988-92. Though he continued to play jazz fusion, Lagrene always returned to his first love Reinhart. This 1995 album My Favorite Django was Lagrene's first album of a long relationship with Dreyfus Jazz. It's a jazz fusion interpretation of Reinhart with arrangements by keyboard player Koono with veteran sidemen Anthony Jackson on bass and Dennis Chambers on drums. This is available as a budget CD. In 2001, Lagrene returned to a more traditional style with The Gipsy Project with Hono Winterstein on guitar, Diego Imbert on bass and frequently with accordionist Richard Galliano. Thomas Dutronc, the son of french pop stars Jacques Dutronc and Francoise Hardy, also appears occasionally. Lagrene's latest CD Mouvements was released Sept. 2012. He is currently touring Europe. He is recommended to those who enjoy the Reinhardt style. Here's Bireli Lagrene with accordionist Richard Galliano performing Daphne at the 2002 Montreux Jazz Festival.