Stephane Wrembel is easily one of the most highly regarded guitarists in the world specializing in the style of legendary composer/guitarist Django Reinhardt. Born in Fontainebleau, France, He learned his craft traveling the French countryside before graduating from Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has had a remarkable career, touring the world, while releasing 16 albums under his name and the nom de plume, The Django Experiment. His original compositions have been featured in Midnight in Paris (“Bistro Fada”), Vicki Cristina Barcelona “Big Brother”) and Rifkin’s Festival (original score). Midnight in Paris received the Grammy Award® for “Best Compilation Soundtrack.” Stephane was selected by award-winning composer/producer Hans Zimmer to perform at the 2012 Academy Awards® as part of his “All Star Band” which also included Esperanza Spalding, Pharrell, and Shelia E. Stephane recorded Gypsy Rumble and toured nationally with famed mandolinist/composer David Grisman. He has opened or performed with Elvis Costello, Patti Smith, The Roots, Medeski Martin & Wood, Me’shell Ndegeocello, John Scofield, Larry Keel, Stochelo Rosenberg, Sam Bush and the amzing and diverse list goes on. In 2019, Stephane released the highly regarded “Django L’Impressionniste”, featuring seventeen of Reinhardt’s preludes for solo guitar, followed by a book of his transcriptions in 2021. He is currently the only guitarist in the world to perform these seventeen preludes in their entirety. Ever since 2003, he has produced the Django-a-Gogo Festival, 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.
I had the chance to get back on a call with Stephane to talk about the upcoming event back here in Madison at Cafe Coda on April 2nd. Stephane’s world-class band includes: Josh Kaye on guitar; Ari Folman-Cohen on bass; and Nick Anderson on drums. We get into a deep space about the feelings, creation and moments within the shared event such as the one upcoming in the MadCity. The music definitely acts as a vessel for me and many I witness in the crowd as the strings vibrate and the grooves form. Over the years, I have watched the Django A Gogo Festival event go from there to here and this year’s here is an amazing array of talent: playing, teaching and sharing. So, we stay on this topic for a bit and it is always special to hear someone like Stephane dish out proper praise of/to others. We also discuss what is this gypsy jazz thing?!. Within the deep, there are hints of ideas about new music coming this Fall, an upcoming trip to Switzerland and Billy Strings. This is always a ride worth taking.