Another Bireli Lagrene DVD – but don’t add it to your shopping list

A few posts ago I recommended Bireli Lagrene’s DVDs Live in Paris and Bireli Lagrene and Friends. These really are essential viewing/listening for any fan of gypsy jazz guitar. In my enthusiasm for more I ordered Django: a jazz tribute starring Bireli Lagrene and Babik Reinhardt. Unfortunately this DVD is not so successful. Its sole stars are Bireli and Babik, i.e. it is a jazz guitar duo, one of my least favourite combinations – even Jim Hall and Pat Metheny didn’t really do it for me. Bireli plays a solid body electric guitar and three of the four tunes on this 26 minute DVD are originals which mainly consist of dominant 7 sus 4 vamps with much mindless widdling up and down the guitar necks, impressive gymnastics but less impressive music. We can’t blame Bireli or Babik – the DVD has few details but it seems to be recorded a long time ago in the afternoon in a cafe with a fairly uninterested audience. We can blame the production company for putting this DVD out in 2005 and trying to cash in on Bireli’s fame and Babik’s heritage.


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