Featured image: Jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel (pictured here with fellow musicians Josh Kaye, Ari Folman-Cohen and Nick Anderson) looks forward to creating a memorable night of musical entertainment for audience members in Southern California in late January. Photo: Courtesy of Rob Davidson
When talking to Stephane Wrembel about music, the French jazz guitarist would at times steer the conversation to someone else: Jean “Django” Reinhardt.
Reinhardt was a Romani-French jazz guitarist active in the 20th century whose work was influential in the genre, including with Wrembel. Wrembel’s California tour—which includes a stop at The Coach House on Jan. 25—will celebrate the life and work of his idol.
Wrembel particularly wants to show how guitar playing has evolved since Reinhardt and beyond. The show will be a mix of Reinhardt’s and Wrembel’s compositions. Like his hero, Wrembel spent time learning guitar from Romani people in France.
Wrembel thinks so highly of Reinhardt, he compares the man’s work on guitar to what Johann Sebastian Bach did with the keyboard, given Reinhardt was able to show music aficionados what the boundaries of guitar work are.
“Django shows us how guitar works in the jazz context,” Wrembel said.
Jazz shaped the modern musical landscape, Wrembel said. Guitar players who study Reinhardt will become better at their craft, he added.
However, Wrembel does point out he is his own person and brings his own flavor to the guitar and performances. Furthermore, Wrembel even declares he does not believe in genres and that he—and other guitar players—are, first and foremost, artists.
His music has appeared on the soundtrack for the 2011 Woody Allen film Midnight in Paris. Wrembel graduated in 2000 from the Berklee College of Music in Boston, released his debut album two years later and then moved to New York in 2003.
Wrembel acknowledges the influence of Middle Eastern music on his own compositions. Other influences include the blues, swing and classical music. He even grew up a Pink Floyd fan.
“You can’t describe music with words,” he said. “It’s something you have to experience.”
Something Wrembel will experience on stage at The Coach House is playing the venue for the first time. He can’t recall playing the San Juan Capistrano venue before, but he is excited to be touring the West Coast.
“There is something in the air, in the general vibe,” Wrembel said of California. “We adapt to the vibe wherever we play. It’s never the same show.”
The “we” refers to Wrembel’s fellow musicians touring with him for the shows: drummer Nick Anderson, bassist Ari Folman-Cohen and guitarist Josh Kaye.
Together, the four performers will create a “moment in space and time” unique to that Wednesday night that the South Orange County audience can enjoy. Wrembel hopes attendees will be able to take away a memory that stays with them after the concert is over.
“That thing’s going to be with you for a while,” he said. “Our concerts are always extremely alive.”
What: Stephane Wrembel
When: Wednesday, Jan. 25. Doors open at 6 p.m.; concert starts at 8 p.m.
Where: 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano
For tickets or more info: thecoachhouse.com. Tickets are $25.
Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as the City Editor for The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.