Sometimes it only takes a well-placed reference to bump an
artist up to the next level. French-born guitarist Stephane Wrembel was
already enjoying an acclaimed career when director Woody Allen tapped
him to score the theme of his 2011 Academy Award-winning film Midnight in Paris (Allen had previously used Wrembel’s song “Big Brother” in his 2008 film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona), which he performed live to the millions who tuned into the ceremony’s telecast.
With that exposure, a brand new and voluminous fan base sought after Wrembel’s latest album — last year’s Origins — and his four previous recordings.
Wrembel actually began studying Classical piano at age
four but switched to guitar at 16 in order to learn Led Zeppelin, Pink
Floyd and Genesis songs.
While a student at the American School of
Modern Music in Paris, Wrembel attended the Django Reinhardt Festival
and became fascinated with Gypsy Jazz. He studied composition,
arrangement and contemporary Classical Music and spent a good deal of
time playing around campfires, learning from actual Gypsies. Wrembel was
ultimately awarded a scholarship to Boston’s Berklee College of Music
where he graduated with highest honors in music performance.
Relocating to New York City afforded Wrembel the
opportunity to absorb American music and incorporate it into his musical
arsenal; his hybridized style was evident on his 2001 debut, Introducing Stephane Wrembel, and was even more potently displayed on Origins, a confluence of his Rock, Gypsy Jazz and Blues influences.
Stephane Wrembel spins his gossamer guitar web between the
sturdy pillars of Django Reinhardt and Jimmy Page, and it is a
breathtakingly beautiful thing to behold.
STEPHANE WREMBEL performs Saturday, Jan. 19 at Blue Wisp Jazz Club Downtown.