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Bireli Lagrene: Return to Django

Bireli Lagrene

It’s 1988, and guitarist Bireli Lagrene is onstage at the Village Vanguard. A decade earlier, at age 12, the gypsy phenom had stunned the world with his remarkably accurate interpretations of Django Reinhardt’s ornate, precisely picked, urgently swinging gypsy jazz.

In the audience is Blue Note Records executive Bruce Lundvall, reveling in the recent signing of this budding guitar god. Also seated in the audience, in his usual spot near the door, is Vanguard proprietor Max Gordon, well into his 70s now, sometimes can be seen nodding off in his chair during any given set.

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