If you saw Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris or Vicki Cristina Barcelona and were captivated by its lilting guitar theme song, you have heard the jazz virtuosity of Paris-born Stephane Wrembel—and you will get to listen to him in person on May 21 at The Mainstay in Rock Hall.
Wrembel is considered one of the finest jazz guitarists in the world, renowned for his Django Reinhardt style, often called “Gypsy jazz,” “hot jazz.” or “jazz manouche.”
Reinhardt, a Belgian-born Romani French jazz guitarist who rose to fame in the 1930s with violinist Stéphane Grappelli performing their Quintette du Hot Club de France, has been hailed as one of the most influential musicians and composers of coming out of Europe. Many jazz musicians claim Reinhardt as their inspiration.
For Wrembel, discovering jazz would have to wait for a few years until he got rock and roll out of his system. More than anything, he wanted to emulate the great rock guitarists like David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Joe Satriani, and Steve Vai all the while surrounded by jazz in his native Fontainebleau region of France, where Reinhardt had lived.
But as he began to study guitar, Wrembel realized that jazz was foundational to what would become his lifelong quest—understanding the DNA of music of the past. It was then that he immersed himself in the world of Romani jazz, all of which led back to Django Reinhardt and a rewarding trajectory in studying, composition, teaching, and performing jazz.
“Jazz is the primal archetype for all 20th-century music,” he says.
Sixteen albums later and during a nationwide tour, Wrembel will bring his magic to the Eastern Shore next weekend.
The Spy recently caught up with Stephane via Zoom as he was about to head off to Canada.
Showtime for the live concert event is 8 pm. Tickets are $20 in advance of the show and can be purchased online.