The Upshot: Followup to 2017’s The Django Experiment I / The Django Experiment II, and an ambitious album that begins the process of not treating the original arrangements with complete reverence and experimenting with different methods of transmission.
BY MICHAEL TOLAND
Apparently Stephane Wrembel isn’t quite done with his project to revisit the music of gypsy jazz greats Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli – this is the sequel to the pair of album the French guitarist released last year (and reviewed here at BLURT). While there’s plenty of old-school gypsy jazz here, Wrembel doesn’t play it quite as safe as he did on the prior recordings. For one thing, there are only three Django originals, with the rest coming from the late guitarist’s contemporaries, traditional sources or even Wrembel’s pen itself. For another, while the familiar hopping rhythms and fleet-fingered solos (from Wrembel, co-axedude Thor Jensen and sax/clarinet blower Nick Driscoll) dominate, other colors catch the eye. The darkened, Middle Easter-flavored intro of “Les folts du Danube,” the Latin-flavored rhythm in the back half of “Swing gitan/Apocalypse,” the enigmatic, chunky riffing of “Indifference,” the marching intro to “Nuages,” one of Reindhardt’s most famous tunes — Wrembel has begun the process of not treating the original arrangements with complete reverence and experimenting with different methods of transmission. It’s an excellent step in his evolution, and a necessary one – given how few performers nowadays essay this style of jazz, it behooves Wrembel to keep it fresh for himself and the musical generations to follow.
DOWNLOAD: “Swing gitan/Apocalypse,” “Nuages,” “Indifference”