January 24, 2024 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm
$30/$40 at the door
Grammy Winning Gypsy Guitar Virtuoso
Stephane Wrembel is quite simply one of the finest guitar players in the world. The breadth and range of his playing and compositions are unmatched. This prolific musician, composer, educator, and musical director has released a steady stream of music since 2002 truly making his mark as one of the most original guitar voices in contemporary music.
His live performance is unparallel. He has headlined Jazz at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, The Town Hall in NYC and The Lyon Opera House in France. He has toured and/or shared stages with master violinist Mark O’Connor, Sam Bush, Stochelo Rosenberg, Esperanza Spalding, and Al Di Meola. He has dazzled audiences at Montreal Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Django Reinhardt Festival in France, Ellnora Guitar Festival, Caramoor Jazz Festival and many others. He has toured Canada, France, Israel, UK, India and Nigeria.
Born in Paris and raised in Fontainebleau, the home of Impressionism and Django Reinhardt, Wrembel first studied classical piano, beginning at the age of four. But in his mid-teens, he discovered that he had an affinity for guitar. As a big fan of Pink Floyd, he “spent hours learning David Gilmour’s style,” he said. “So I had a classical background, a passion for rock music, and then I found out about Django. I fell in love with the very strong impressionist feel in his music.”
Reinhardt, long regarded as one of the most influential musicians and composers of all time, was a Sinti (a Roma group from Western Europe). Wrembel immersed himself in Sinti culture, spending “six, seven years going to the camps. I started learning the atmosphere of what it really means to play Sinti-style guitar. I learned from the masters such as Angelo Debarre and Serge Krief. That’s how you learn this music because it is specific to a culture. Music is not only the notes. Without the culture, something is missing.”
Wrembel graduated summa cum laude from Berklee College of Music in Boston in 2002. That same year he released his 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.”
Wrembel moved to NYC in 2003. Before long, word of this remarkable European transplant began spreading among fellow musicians and denizens of the teeming New York music scene. Both Gypsy Rumble (2005), which includes mandolin legend David Grisman, and 2006’s Barbes-Brooklyn found favor with critics. Oscar-winning director Woody Allen used one of Gypsy Rumble’s tracks, “Big Brother,” in his 2008 film Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Wrembel’s fourth album, Terre Des Hommes, was released the same year.
In 2003, Wrembel created his own annual event, Django á Gogo Music Festival & Guitar Camp, bringing together some of the finest musicians in the world to celebrate the Sinti guitar style to perform in prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall and The Town Hall. This weeklong event held in his hometown of Maplewood, N.J. and NYC is now being produced in Los Angeles, Canada and beyond.
Wrembel’s breakthrough came with his original composition “Bistro Fada,” a Django-influenced swinging waltz on his fifth album Origins that became the theme song for Woody Allen’s 2011 Oscar®-winning film, Midnight In Paris. It was included on the Grammy®-winning soundtrack for the film. Wrembel performed the irresistibly catchy “Bistro Fada” live during the 2012 Academy Awards® ceremony with an all-star ensemble led by Hans Zimmer.
In 2014, Wrembel delivered Dreamers of Dreams recorded outside of New York City with his band which included bassist Dave Speranza, rhythm guitarist Roy Williams, and drummer Nick Anderson. In 2016, Wrembel released two masterfully recorded live albums: Live In India and Live In Rochester. Wrembel is extremely popular in both of those locales.
From 2017-2021, Wrembel released The Django Experiment I -The Django Experiment VI under the nom du plume The Django Experiment. These six volumes were recorded with long-time collaborators Thor Jensen on guitar, Ari Folman-Cohen on double bass, Nick Anderson on drums, and Nick Driscoll on saxophone and clarinet, live in the studio, evoking new interpretations of Reinhardt’s music as well as songs by other jazz composers. The albums garnered rave reviews including coverage in Jazz Times, Downbeat, Acoustic Guitar Magazine, Guitar World, New York City Jazz Record, Jazz Weekly, All About Jazz, and more.
In 2019, Wrembel produced Les Yeux Noirs, the debut CD by Simba Baumgartner, Django’s great-grandson. Baumgartner, who lives in the countryside in France, was one of the special guests at Django á Gogo 2019 and 2023. That same year, Wrembel released Django L’Impressionniste putting the spotlight on 17 little-known preludes for solo guitar Reinhardt recorded between 1937 and 1950. Wrembel is the first interpreter who has performed all of these pieces and collected them in one definitive masterwork. It took 4 years to meticulously transcribe the songs. He released a beautifully printed and bound book of sheet music in April of 2021.
In 2020, he contributed the original score for the Woody Allen movie, Rifkin’s Festival, which stars Gina Gershon, Christoph Waltz and Wallace Shawn
In November of 2021, Wrembel debuted his specialty group Django New Orleans, a 9-piece NYC-based band, with 8 sold-out shows at Jazz At Lincoln Center’s Dizzy’s Club. The following year his specialty program Shades of Django sold out two nights in The Rose Theater at Jazz at Lincoln Center. Following the success of these shows, Wrembel released Django New Orleans in May of 2023 in conjunction with the Django á Gogo festival.
And while Wrembel is now considered one of the preeminent master guitarists in the world specialized in the Django Reinhardt style, Wrembel revels in transcending and expanding. His music incorporates jazz, blues, classical, swing, flamenco and rock. All of these influences come together as a genre identifiable only as Stephane Wrembel.
“I just play my own music,” he says. “I like to believe that it is beyond any one genre and that there is something in it for everyone. It’s not only for Django lover or jazz lover. It’s for the music lover.”