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French guitar virtuoso Stéphane Wrembel, a vital link between Django Reinhardt, Pink Floyd and Woody Allen

If there’s a missing link between Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Woody Allen, Oscar-winning film composer Hans Zimmer and gypsy jazz guitar pioneer Django Reinhardt, it’s undoubtedly French six-string virtuoso Stéphane Wrembel. .

“We all create in different ways, but we follow a common thread,” said Wrembel, who performs with his band Tuesday at Dizzy’s for All Ages in Bay Park.

Now a resident of New Jersey, Wrembel played a key role in the house band for the 2012 Oscars TV broadcast as a member of the all-star band led by Zimmer. One of the tracks they performed that night was “Bistro Fada,” which Wrembel wrote as the Reinhardt-style theme song for Allen’s Oscar-nominated “Midnight in Paris.”

The French guitarist also contributed music to Allen’s “Vicki Christina Barcelona” and composed all of the music for Allen’s 2020 film, “Rifkin’s Festival.” Their relationship is cordial, but centered on work.

“Woody’s not a talker, and I’m not a talker,” Wrembel said. “We say ‘Hello,’ and then he says, ‘OK, here’s what I need for the movie,’ and we watch the movie. It’s very organic.

Wrembel graduated summa cum laude in 2002 from the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston. He has released nine albums under his own name and six as the frontman of The Django Experiment, whose repertoire blends original compositions and Reinhardt classics with gems such as Duke Ellington’s “Caravan” and Fats’ “Honeysuckle Rose.” Waller..”

Yet while growing up in the same Fontainebleau region of France where Reinhardt had lived, Wrembel spent his teenage years in rock bands. He diligently imitated the playing of Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour, Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and former San Diegan Frank Zappa. And he learned to play the numbing acrobatic music on Joe Satriani’s 1987 album, “Surfing with the Alien,” note for note.

“Django’s sound was all around me when I was growing up, but I never paid attention to it,” Wrembel recalls.

“But when I graduated from high school and dedicated myself to being a guitarist, I knew I had to study jazz. And the only jazz I knew was Django. So I went to learn his music at the gypsies.

Stéphane Wrembel kicks off a seven-city California tour with his band in San Diego at Dizzy’s on Tuesday.

(Courtesy of Michelle Roche Public Relations)

‘Django Manifested Guitar’

A Belgian-born gypsy who was largely based in France, Reinhardt left a lasting legacy on the guitar with his remarkably fluid and passionate playing. His dazzling musical sense was not hampered by the fact that – when Reinhardt was 18 – a fire so badly burned the fourth and fifth fingers of his left hand that he could never use them to play guitar again. .

With French violinist Stéphane Grappelli and their group, the famous Quintette du Hot Club de France, Reinhardt popularized a style of jazz that could be ferociously hard one moment and deeply rhapsodic the next. This sound and approach continues to be developed around the world, including by bands such as the San Diego-born Hot Club of Cowtown.

“Every instrument has a guy who encapsulates the nature of the music on his instrument. For piano, it’s Bach. For guitarists, it’s Django,” Wrembel said, speaking by phone from his home in Maplewood, NJ.

“Django manifested the guitar and how harmony works on it. So the mechanics of it all is Django. You can take David Gilmour or Jimi Hendrix or Pat Metheny, and they all go back to Django. His right hand technique seems come from the dawn of humanity.

“We can all learn from Django. But we are all different. So what I teach my students is to look within themselves.

Wrembel’s Tuesday gig is his first here since his 2012 San Diego debut at Dizzy’s, then located in Old Town. The concert takes place five days before the 114th birthday of Reinhardt, who was 43 when he died in 1953.

Wrembel and his three-man band are set to open their seven-city California tour here amid the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

Is he affected?

“I have no concerns,” Wrembel replied. “Why not? Because I don’t. That’s not how I live my life.

Stéphane Wrembel, with Josh Kaye, Ari Folman-Cohen and Nick Anderson

When: 8 p.m. Tuesday

Or: Dizzy’s, Arias Hall (behind the Musicians’ Association building), 1717 Morena Blvd., Bay Park

Tickets: $20 at the door (cash only)

Call: (858) 270-7467

In line: dizzysjazz.com

COVID-19 Protocols: All spectators must wear masks, regardless of their vaccination status. Check the venue’s website for updates.