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Bireli Big Band Live

MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
edited November 2010 in Welcome Posts: 5,920
The link below contains a zip file which contains a live concert of Bireli Lagrene. Thanks to Jan Brouwer for donating this!

Bireli Live with a Big Band




  • plankityplankity CTNew
    Posts: 105
    Michael: is this Part I of the WRD show (formerly available on Jan Brouwer's site)?

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,920
    It's both parts...the whole shebang!

  • Posts: 64
    thanks, now the concert is complete.
  • BarengeroBarengero Auda CityProdigy
    Posts: 527
    Hi folks,

    for those among you who are not familiar with german language I tried to make a translation of the Interview. Sorry for my poor english - it´s a little bit like Bireli´s german.


    Interviewer Michael Rüsenberg (M.R.)
    Bireli Lagrene (BL)

    B.L.: This is a music which I have grown up with, because my father has been a guitarist, too. And I listened to this music from a child regular. And then my brother is a guitarist, too – somehow this came about. I am 39 now and still I follow that.

    M.R.: Is Django Reinhardt - with regard to music - your "Life-theme"?

    B.R.: Well, he has been in any case during a big part of my life. But when I was 16 or 17, I wanted to do something different, something that suited better to me. And that was successful. I made Jazz-Fusion and play Jazz. But now I went back to that kind of music 3 or 4 years ago. And that is a lot of fun, because in all the years I learned a lot more and nowadays I don´t play the Django-phrasing any more, what is absolulety what I did in the past. Nowadays it sounds different and in all the years i found my own style, I think.

    M.R.: The time of Jazz-Fusion you were speaking about, that was – among other things- the time with Jaco Pastorius.

    B.L.: Yes, absolutely yes: In 1985-86 that began for me. And then at the first go I came to real master. That was a life-experience, in any case.

    M.R.: What does the music of Django Reinhardt have, that the music of the jazz-fusion-period didn´t had?

    B.L.: Oh, I didn´t miss too much. When I was a teenager I was anxious to do something different. When I was 15 or 16 I heard all that guitarists like George Benson, Mike Stern and so on. And then I thought by myself: That could be a way to play music for you. But I didn´t miss anything. Now that I am older it is much easier for me to play that music of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. When I played this kind of music as a kid, there was much pressure because the audience expected so much. That wasn´t straining but I wanted to do something different. It is fantastic to play the music of Django Reinhardt and I respected him very much, but I wanted to find my own style. And now somehow I came back to him, because I reached a kind of ripeness and calmness. I hope that many people know that I have an own sound. For me it is easier to play this music now.

    M.R.: Now you have this project with the WDR-Bigband: "Djangology". Aside from the fact that this is a compisition of Django Reinhardt that is included in the program – what ist the intention of this project?

    B.L.: The mixture played by the WDR-Bigband consists of compositions of Django Reinhardt which he played and composed in the last two or three years of his life. That sound very modern because Django Reinhardt had an interest for Bebop in the last three or four years of his life. Thats why I thought it would be a good idea to play this repertoire with the WDR-Bigband. That is what I told to the arranger of the WDR-Bigband, Michael Abene. On the other side there are some american standards, as interpreted by Frank Sinatra. So there is a mixture of that modern compositions by Django Reinhardt and standards. The result is fantastic.

    M.R.: Is this your first cooperation with a Bigband?

    B.L.: Absolutely, yes. Well, I already concured with bigbands in france, in england and in america. But I never made a real project for a real record. In this sense it is the first time with the WDR-Bigband.

    M.R.: How does that feel for you as a guitarist? Do you have to mobilize much discipline? What is different from playing with your regulary band?

    B.L.: Oh, yes. Of course everything is written in sheets of music and I can´t read that very good. Michael Abene – the arranger – and I always look at each other and so it works. But in fact this is another world for me – although it is Jazz - a high grade of Jazz!. Indeed I am free as a guitarist when I play my solo but I have to be attentive what happens after the solo. So I have to keep my ear wide, wide open.

    M.R.: Would you please explain this a little bit more. If you cannot read written music very good, how can you get on well with the Bigband?

    B.L.: I open up my eyes and open up my ears as wide as possible. Until now I always had good luck because I listen very intensive to the music and I can guess when I have to come to an end. Sometimes it is a handicap that I can´t read written music that good but I do this since 30 years now and I learned to adjust. I am very thankful that this project with Michael Abene and the WDR-Bigband can take place. I heard about this fantastic Bigband years ago and it was a little bit heart-moving when "o.k." came from the direction of the WDR.

    M.R.: How did you get the arrangennents? Did you give suggestions to Michael Abene or was it the other way round? It is your project – with his arrengements.

    B.L.: Oh, we had one meeting in New York, but there was a long correspondence by email. The main topics have been the tempo and the keys.

    M.R.: Is there something in the music of Django Reinhardt that is absolutely modern and still worth listening to nowadays?

    B.L.: Well, anything he recorded from 1945-46 on is up to date. There is a "boom" since three or four years now concerning this music. I notice that people are interested in this kind of music. I want to take the chance and want to demonstrate to the people what Django Reinhardt did in the last years of his life – what he did with the musicians from america when they came to Paris from 1950 on, like Dizzy Gillespie and other excellent musicians. That is an aspect that is not well-known to the audience and that is why I selected this repertoire.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,920
    Wow...thanks for the translation!

    Did he happen to mention what his email address is? I have some questions about picking technique...ha ha

  • UpgradeUpgrade New
    Posts: 5
    This is awesome THANKS!! :lol:
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    this arrangements are pretty authentic sounding. much less chessy than bireli's prog arrangements.
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
  • richdaiglerichdaigle SLC,UT✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 181
    This is at the Cully Jazz fest and it SMOKES ... d=18371883

    Rich D
  • Mark_PMark_P New
    Posts: 18
    Wow, fantastic!

    Thanks so much for the translation too, I always hate not knowing what Bireli or Stoch are saying in an interview.


  • Posts: 50
    Thats too much....too cool....thanks M.
    as a wise man once said "shut up and play yer guitar"!

    Frank Zappa
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