Biréli Lagrène

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Biréli Lagrène
Bireli aux Granges le 26.08.06.jpg
Bireli aux Granges 26 August 2006
Background information
Born (1966-09-04) 4 September 1966 (age 50)
Alsace, France
Genres Gypsy jazz, swing, jazz fusion, post bop, jazz rock
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Guitar
Years active 1978–present
Labels Jazz Point, Dreyfus, Blue Note
Associated acts Larry Coryell, Jaco Pastorius, Miroslav Vitouš, Sylvain Luc, Stanley Jordan,

Biréli Lagrène (born September 4, 1966) is a French jazz guitarist. He came to prominence in the 1980s for his Django Reinhardt-influenced style. He often performs in swing, jazz fusion and post-bop styles.


Lagrène was born on September 4, 1966, in Alsace, France, into a Romani family and community. His father and grandfather were guitarists, and he was raised in the gypsy guitar tradition. He started playing at age four or five, and by seven was improvising jazz in a style similar to Django Reinhardt's, who his father admired and wanted his sons to emulate. In 1980, while still in his early teens, he recorded his first album, Routes to Django: Live at the Krokodil (Jazz Point, 1981).[1][2]

During the next few years, Lagrène toured with Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucía, and John McLaughlin, all of them guitarists, and played with Benny Carter, Benny Goodman, and Stéphane Grappellii. He joined Larry Coryell and Vic Juris in New York City for a tribute to Reinhardt in 1984, and went on tour with Coryell and Philip Catherine. He also performed with Jaco Pastorius, Stanley Clarke, the Gil Evans Orchestra, Christian Escoudé, and Charlie Haden. In 1989 he performed in a duo with Stanley Jordan.[1]

Lagrène recorded Gipsy Project (Dreyfus, 2001) and Gipsy Project and Friends (Dreyfus, 2002). With his usual cohorts Diego Imbert (double bass) and Hono Winterstein (rhythm guitar), the latter session featured Henri Salvador and Thomas Dutronc (son of Françoise Hardy and Jacques Dutronc).


  • 1980 Routes to Django (Jazz Point)
  • 1981 Biréli Swing '81 (Jazz Point)
  • 1981 Down in Town
  • 1982 Fifteen (Antilles)
  • 1983 Down in Town
  • 1984 Live at Carnegie Hill (Relica)
  • 1985 Live with Vic Juris (In-Akustik)
  • 1985 A Tribute to Django Reinhardt (Live at the Carnegie Hall & Freiburg Jazz Festival)
  • 1986 Stuttgart Aria with Jaco Pastorius, Vladislav Sendecki, Jan Jankeje, Peter Lubke, Serge Bringolf (Le Chant du Monde)
  • 1986 Heavy'n Jazz (Jaco Pastorius)
  • 1986 Smoke On the Water (Jaco Pastorius, Serge Bringolf), Live in Rome
  • 1986 Lagrene and Guests (Larry Coryell, Miroslav Vitouš) (In-Akustik)
  • 1988 Inferno (Blue Note)
  • 1989 Foreign Affairs (Blue Note)
  • 1989 Highlights with Philip Catherine, Larry Coryell, Jaco Pastorius, Vladislav Sendecki, Miroslav Vitous (Jazzpoint)
  • 1990 Acoustic Moments (Blue Note)
  • 1992 Standards (Blue Note/Capitol)
  • 1993 Live at the Carnegie Hall (Jazz Point)
  • 1994 Live in Marciac (FDM)
  • 1994 The Music of Django Reinhardt – Bob Wilber, Randy Sandke, Mike Peters, Bireli Lagrene
  • 1995 My Favorite Django (Dreyfus)
  • 1998 The One and Only, with Jimmy Rosenberg and Angelo Debarre (Hot Club Records)
  • 1998 Mike Reinhardt Choukar
  • 1998 Blue Eyes (FDM)
  • 1998 Bireli Lagrene – Special Guests Larry Coryell, Miroslav Vitous (Jazz Point)
  • 1999 Duet, with Sylvain Luc
  • 2000 Frontpage with Dennis Chambers, Dominique Di Piazza
  • 2001 A Tribute to Django Reinhardt: Live at the Carnegie Hall and the Freiburg Jazz Festival (Jazz Point)
  • 2001 Gypsy Project (Dreyfus)
  • 2002 Gypsy Project & Friends (Dreyfus)
  • 2005 Move (Dreyfus)
  • 2006 To Bi or Not To Bi (Dreyfus/FDM)
  • 2006 Djangology (Dreyfus)
  • 2007 Just the Way You Are (Dreyfus)
  • 2008 Gipsy Routes (Dreyfus)
  • 2008 Electric Side (Dreyfus)
  • 2009 Summertime, with Sylvain Luc
  • 2009 Gipsy Trio (Dreyfus)
  • 2010 Djangologists with the Rosenberg Trio
  • 2012 Bireli Lagrene & Sylvain Luc–Best Moments
  • 2012 Mouvements (Universal Music Classics and Jazz)
  • 2015 D-Stringz with Stanley Clarke and Jean-Luc Ponty (Universal/Verve)


  • 1989 Super Guitar Trio - Live at Montreux [3] [4]
  • 2004 Bireli Lagrene & Friends:Live Jazz a Vienne (Dreyfus)
  • 2005 Django: A Jazz Tribute
  • 2005 Bireli Lagrene & Gypsy Project Live in Paris
  • 2006 Live in Paris (Dreyfus)
  • 2009 Monaco Dreyfus Night (Dreyfus)[5]


  1. ^ a b Ferguson, Jim; Kernfeld, Barry (2002). Kernfeld, Barry, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Grove's Dictionaries Inc. p. 536. ISBN 1-56159-284-6. 
  2. ^ Lankford, Jr., Ronnie D. "Biréli Lagrène | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 6 August 2016. 
  3. ^ "Live at Montreux 1989". AllAboutJazz. 
  4. ^ "Live at Montreux 1989". JazzTimes. 
  5. ^ "Biréli Lagrène | Album Discography | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 7 August 2016. 

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