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Stephane Wrembel: Half Django, Half New York

The guitarist carries the Gypsy-jazz torch, on his own terms

Photo of guitarist Stephane Wrembel
Stephane Wrembel

In March, at the finale of “Django a Gogo 2017 Music Festival: A Celebration of Guitar Through the Music of Django Reinhardt,” nine acoustic guitarists stood on the stage of Carnegie Hall, strumming in unison in the Gypsy-jazz style. Nearly all of them had already been spotlighted at some point during the two-and-a-half-hour concert—the 10th anniversary of the festival—which featured not only the compositions of the late leader of the Quintette du Hot Club de France (“Nuages,” “Djangology,” “Minor Swing”) but also a handful of unexpected, unrelated delights: Chick Corea’s “Spain” and even a John Denver hit, “Take Me Home, Country Roads.”

Only one of the participants, Al Di Meola, could truly be called world-renowned, but several of the others—the Dutchman Stochelo Rosenberg was particularly mind-blowing—deserve to be. Helming the entire affair was Stephane Wrembel, a master of the genre best known for his contributions to two Woody Allen films: “Big Brother,” heard in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, and “Bistro Fada,” the main theme of Midnight in Paris.

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