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Duet

15 customer reviews

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Audio CD, February 22, 2000
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Editorial Reviews

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It's almost too easy to tag a pair of French guitarists with the Django Reinhardt label, but in the case of Sylvain Luc and Bireli Lagrene's beautiful new Duet, there are moments when the tag is wonderfully accurate. Throughout a swinging rendition of Reinhardt's "Douce Ambiance" and the classic "Stompin' at the Savoy," Luc and Birelli display an affinity for the legendary French jazzman's subtle swing and Gypsy modalities that goes well beyond a mere copycat gesture. The pair are equally masterful in turning pop songs like Cyndi Lauper's "Time after Time" and Stevie Wonder's "Isn't She Lovely" into gorgeous jazz balladry. Luc and Lagrene play off one another with an almost telepathic ease, and their delicate rapport lights up the pared-down instrumentation of two acoustic guitars, whether they're getting subtly funky on Wes Montgomery's "Road Song" or fingerpicking through the Beatles' "Blackbird." Jazz guitar aficionados may find some of Duet reminiscent of John McLaughlin, Al Dimeola, and Paco de Lucia's hugely popular Friday Night in San Francisco. Duet's appeal comes from making masterfully rendered, stripped-down music that shines. --Ezra Gale


Product Details

  • Audio CD (February 22, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Dreyfus
  • ASIN: B0000488TQ
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,914 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Richard Cohn on February 28, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I heard Sylvain Luc in Paris recently and was astounded by his extraordinary instrumental mastery and his remarkable interpretations of jazz and pop classics that are completely accessible and entirely fresh. Birelli has been a guitar god since his prodigious youth and has come a long way since his early days of channeling Django--in fact his most recent outings on disc have included a Sinatra Tribute on which he sings ( to great effect) as well as an album devoted to standards. (and to understand how complete a player he is, check out his work with the late-great Jaco Pastorious for some of the wildest Jazz/Rock jamming you could ever hope for.) On this duet disc, the styles of these two masters are different enough to provide a rich and compatible contrast- and their technical wizardry never interferes with the melodic lines and simple harmonies of the tunes. Time after Time and Isn't She Lovely are perfect examples of how they retain the simple structure of a familiar song while adding layers of improvisational dynamics and melodic invention to achieve an exciting blend of stimulating sound. This album is already one of my all time favorite guitar duo sessions.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 23, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Another amazing performance featuring Bireli Lagrene, in my opinion one of the most exciting jazz guitarist. As an amateur guitarist myself, all of Bireli's work is source of ideas and inspiration. This CD also gives the opportunity to know a guitarist named Sylvain Luc, famous in France for being the side man of all the biggest name on the French scene. His technique is also impressing, admirably completing Bireli's style. He however can't be qualified as "straight" jazz guitarist, but more as a multi-talent, versatile personality. The choice of the songs is interesting, combining jazz standards and adaptation of popular music. I found especially remarkable the adaptation of a French song by George Brassens called "les amoureux des bancs publics" which in the original version is as far to a jazz song as possible, and which becomes here a very sensitive jazz ballad.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hippocrates G. Giatis on July 14, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I can't go more that a few days without listening to a cut from this CD. Sylvain Luc brings his skills as a Jaco style bass player to the guitar; adding with his incredible musical taste and exquisite guitar techniques - his performance RANKS AS THE BEST accompaniment in a 2 guitar grouping (Guitarists must hear him comp!!!). AND this doesn�t even speak to his terrific soloing. America needs to see and hear Sylvain Luc.
And for those who don�t know Bireli Lagrene is arguably the best jazz guitarist in our world today.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Matt Archuleta on November 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I have followed Bireli Lagrène since 1987 when Blue Note records released the debut CD "Inferno." Then "Foreign Affairs" came out the following year, and "Acoustic Moments" and "Standards" followed in 1991 and 1992 respectively. Alas he was dropped by the label because he was no Jazz Guitar Madonna (well he "was" but the label didn't see it that way).

The music on this particular CD is acoustically incredible because of the skill in the playing of the musicians. I ask that one and all buy this CD. The interpretation of tunes by Stevie Wonder, Cyndy Lauper, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and a throwback to "Inferno" Inferno the track "Made In France" will have you searching the cut-out bins for all Lagrène releases.

Please listen to the second track, "Douce Ambiance" and all of the elements of finesse and inherent skills of Lagrène and Sylvain Luc will be known.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By E. P. CORREIA on April 24, 2003
Format: Audio CD
First time I saw and heard Sylvain Luc in the Mezzo Channel I was amazed with his mix between extreme technique and great musicality. This guy is one of a kind! I never knew Biréli before this album...also a great musician! I recomend this album to anyone who enjoys being enchanted by the beautiful melodies of two guitars singing!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Selkie on March 6, 2008
Format: Audio CD
After hearing Isn't She Lovely on a local jazz station, I went in search of Duet. I popped the disc into my computer at work and ended up staring at the computer for many minutes, dumbfounded. Where had Bireli Lagrene and Sylvain Luc been? How had I missed them? An amazing journey took place as I listened to more of their music, and later found terrific video footage of them playing with many other artists that I had, well, forgotten about for years. So much for listening to classical music all of the time!
Although Time after Time and Isn't She Lovely are perhaps some of the best renditions of the popular (and for good reason) songs ever produced, every song is a gem, and I am astonished every time I hear Douce Ambience with its percussive, rhythmic interpretation, or the quiet beauty of Blackbird. Made in France, a Lagrene composition, has me holding my breath, wondering how these impossibly long runs are still perfectly phrased, the musicians seeming to play together telepathically. La Ballade Irlandaise is so lovely I long to get married again just so I can dance to it at my wedding. Like another reviewer has said "I can't go more than a few days without listening to a track from Duet."
This CD is the embodiment of joie de vivre, and I have to thank the amazingly talented and original Sylvain Luc, and the musician I now consider the finest jazz guitarist alive, Bireli Lagrene, not only for producing this bit of transcendent music, but for reminding me how much I love jazz, I love jazz guitar, and how much joy there can be had doing something you love.
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