French born, guitarist and composer Stephane Wrembel may not yet be a completely recognizable name, but fans of Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" will recall the score he was asked to write for the film.
Wrembel, whose playing one critic called "blindly fast and relentlessly graceful," makes an appearance Wednesday as part of Strathmore's Free Summer Outdoor Concert Series. He and his band are currently touring to promote their recent album, "Origins" released in May.
Recorded with his band, bassist Dave Speranza, rhythm guitarist Roy Williams, drummer Nick Anderson and percussionist David Langlois, "Origins" is a rich stew of genres and styles, in spite of the fact that Wrembel learned his craft among the French gypsy campsites of Fontainebleau.
"I just play my own music," he said. "I like to believe that it is beyond any one genre and that there is something in it for everyone. It's not only for the rock music lover, or for the Django [gypsy jazz performer, Django Reinhardt] lover ... or for just young people or old people. It's for the music lover."
|Where: Gudelsky Concert Gazebo, Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda|
|When: 7 p.m. Wednesday|
|Info: Free; 301-581-5100; strathmore.org|
But even as Wrembel composes all of his own music, he relies on his band members, all working as an ensemble, to pull it off. "Origins," of which he claims, "I'm digging deeper and deeper into my roots" is a powerful experience for both performers and audiences and the only way to get the most from that experience, he notes, is to hear the album's music in full, from beginning to end.
"The beauty of our music is [that] it's a new genre," he continued. There's nothing to describe it. It's our own."
For those who must understand it by definition however, it can only be called everything from blues to flamenco to rock -- the sound that is quickly identifying Stephane Wrembel as one of the most original guitarists in contemporary music today.
Yet Wrembel might define the unique sound as the sum of all the musical components; most especially composition and performers who are symbiotic with the work.
"For us, music is not about putting notes together," he said. "But with us, it's almost a matter of life and death, you know? We have to do it."