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Biréli Lagrène: Djangology/To Bi or Not To Bi

Ever since his 1980 recording debut as a 13-year-old prodigy, gypsy guitarist Biréli Lagrène has proven to be an immensely talented enigma. His new double-live set, Djangology/To Bi or Not To Bi, will do nothing to change that. The controlled Djangology also features the WDR Big Band at the Kölner Philharmonie in Germany, and the chaotic To Bi or Not To Bi is compiled from solo Lagrène performances at various international locales, so the 40-year-old guitarist practically comes across as musically bipolar.

Part of this is intentional. Lagrène has always defied categorization, going from early comparisons to gypsy-jazz pioneer Django Reinhardt to playing fusion with Jaco Pastorius, then recording a Frank Sinatra tribute (as both guitarist and vocalist) and coming full circle with his Gypsy Project recordings.

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