Episode 5: ——- Dig what I’m doing? Consider donating $5 or more at the bottom of this post
One of my favorite things about attending Berklee was that everyone played gigs all over Boston and Cambridge. These gigs offered a nice contrast to required college performances and recitals and there was an abundance of great shows every night of the week. Some of the hot spots to gig included The House of Blues, Wally’s, Matt Murphy’s, and Emily’s. One venue that opened up during my senior year, was a small restaurant called All Asia. I was fortunate enough to catch an amazing trio there one evening, which consisted of two guitarists and an upright bassist that played a collection of Gypsy Swing tunes. The energy and sound of the group was phenomenal, crisp, and very powerful. I was mesmerized from the first note to the last. The front man of this incredible trio was a French guitarist named Stephane Wrembel. I found out later that he was also studying at Berklee and that Morwenna was an additional member of the group.
A few years ago, Morwenna and I were on tour and played a show at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn, NY. When we arrived, we were pleasantly surprised to find Stephane and his band playing right before us. This time he had similar instrumentation in his group as when I saw him in college, but he also added a unique hand percussionist who had a variety of sounds to play with (all in a compact setup on his knees). Stephane’s sound was growing and we liked it. He wasn’t afraid to experiment outside of the style that he was so proficient in. In addition to playing live shows, Stephane was also gaining recognition for his musical compositions for film. Most notably, he composed the theme song for Woody Allen’s Academy Award winning film, “Midnight in Paris.”
Stephane has definitely become a master of the Gypsy Swing guitar style, but the music he is currently making has evolved into something fresh and completely original. He has dug deep in his roots and adapted his strong, solid technique to this new voice on the guitar. His innovative compositions are like intricate journeys beckoning the listener to seek and explore. His fifth and most highly anticipated album yet, “Origins,” showcases his love for a variety of styles including rock, jazz, blues, and flamenco. He describes this new album as being “a different state of mind all together. I always compose with a picture in mind. That Impressionism approach is the main thing that I’ve carried with me from Fontainebleau (his hometown in France).”
Each performance that Stephane plays starts as a blank canvas, where he and his band combine a unique palette of colors and textures to capture a single moment in time. This was evident when he greeted his audience by saying, “This show tonight will never happen again. We are all here to experience this together.”
Here is Stephane & his band performing “Prometheus” below…
Stephan Wrembel (Guitar), Dave Speranza (Upright Bass),
Roy Williams (Guitar), and Nick Anderson (Drums).
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