STEPHANE WREMBEL BAND
Rolling Stone Magazine has called him “a revelation”. Woody Allen recruited him to score the theme for the smash film “Midnight in Paris”, and he performed the irresistibly catchy original song, “Bistro Fada”, live during the 2012 Academy Awards. He has headlined at Lincoln Center, played major festivals, recorded with mandolin legend David Grisman, toured with master violinist Mark O’Connor and shared stages with everyone from Elvis Costello to Patti Smith to The Roots. The Gitane guitar company has even named a model after him. To say that Stephane Wrembel— who learned his craft among the Gypsies at campsites in the French countryside— has already had a remarkable career would be an under-statement. This virtuoso guitarist from France has truly just begun to make his mark as one of the most original guitar voices in contemporary music.
Last September, Wrembel delivered Dreamers of Dreams, his highly anticipated seventh studio album, recorded outside of New York City, where he has called home for over ten years. The album, which Wrembel recorded with his band—bassist Dave Speranza, rhythm guitarist Roy Williams, and drummer Nick Anderson—finds the multifaceted musician corralling a myriad of influences into a hybrid that simultaneously reflects where he has been, and points to where he is headed. In his formative years to further his knowledge of music overall, and to gain experience, Wrembel immersed himself in the Gypsy culture. Although he built his reputation as a stylist in the mode of the iconic French Sinti guitarist Django Reinhardt, the first major international star of world jazz, Wrembel now revels in transcending and expanding.
Although Wrembel certainly loves paying homage to his roots—hence the title of his fifth album Origins—and was happy to oblige when Allen’s producer requested “a work that would remind of the magic of Paris” for the Oscar-winning Midnight in Paris, he is in no way bound to his own past. Origins touched upon everything from blues to flamenco to rock; all of these influences came together as a genre identifiable only as Stephane Wrembel.
Reviewing his 2002 debut album, Introducing Stephane Wrembel, Vintage Guitar magazine praised the recording as “pure dazzle and dash, a stunning storm of notes that blankets the melody in a rain of arpeggiated notes.” Gypsy Rumble, released in 2005, which includes David Grisman among its guests, and the following year’s Barbes-Brooklyn, also found favor with critics. Time Out New York wrote that the latter “shows off Wrembel’s limber chops in a variety of settings, including ebullient French Gypsy swing, moody ballads, sultry raga-influenced numbers and a lithe cover of Mongo Santamaria’s ‘Afro Blue.’” Woody Allen used one of the album’s tracks, “Big Brother,” in his 2008 film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Wrembel’s fourth album, Terre Des Hommes, was released the same year. In addition to making a splash with his recordings, Wrembel has dazzled audiences at such major gatherings as the NYC Winter Jazzfest, High Sierra Music Festival, the Berkshire Mountain Festival, Whistler International Music Festival, globalFest, New York Hot Jazz Festival and many others, as well as at Lincoln Center. He also created his own event, the annual Django A Go-Go Festival, where he and others influenced by Reinhardt celebrate the Sinti guitar style.