Page 2 of 2This May, Wrembel delivers Origins, his fifth album, recorded outside of New York City, where he’s lived for nearly 10 years. Presciently titled, the album, which Wrembel recorded with his band—bassist Dave Speranza, rhythm guitarist Roy Williams, drummer Nick Anderson and percussionist David Langlois—finds the multi-faceted musician corralling all of his myriad influences into a hybrid that simultaneously reflects where he’s been and points to where he’s headed.Although he built his reputation as a stylist in the mode of the iconic French Sinti guitarist Django Reinhardt, Wrembel now revels in transcending and expanding. “I’m digging deeper and deeper into my roots,” he says about the album. But for these latest sessions, “I didn’t calculate anything. I just put down whatever came to me without thinking of this direction or that direction. I just said, ‘This is one song and this is another song. ’It brings to life all of the possibilities of the band.”
Born in Paris and raised in Fontainebleau, the home of Impressionism and Django, Wrembel first studied classical
piano, starting at the age of four. “My teacher played with many renowned musicians,” he says. “She was very old school but she taught me how to interpret and how to make a phrase from beginning to end. My entire classical training from ages 4 to 16 was about how to interpret.” In his mid-teens, Wrembel discovered that he had an affinity for guitar. “I started practicing very intensely,” he says. “I was a big Pink Floyd fan; that remains my favorite music. I spent hours learning David Gilmour’s style. When I was 17 I decided to become a professional musician. I knew I had to practice 18 hours a day and after I got my high school
diploma I decided that’s what I was going to do. I had a classical background, a passion for rock music, and then I found out about Django. I fell in love with the very strong Impressionist feel in his music.”
To further his knowledge of music overall and to gain experience, Wrembel immersed himself in the Gypsy culture.
“When I first started going to the camps I learned that music is not only the notes,” he says. “There is an atmosphere
to it. So by going there I started learning the atmosphere of what it really means to play Sinti style guitar. In the camps you play all day long, nonstop. You don’t earn technical things. The culture doesn’t use names for things; they just practice melody. By playing and playing and playing you get into a trance. The music just comes by itself.” As he progressed as a player, Wrembel knew where he wanted to be in order to surround himself with expert, forward-thinking players. He enrolled in Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music in 2000, graduated summa cum laude two years later and moved to New York in 2003. Now the big question was how to make a living doing what he loved. “Most musicians arrive in New York and they look for a job to make money,” he says. “But then they don’t have time to practice and they have to depend on something external for money. I arrived with no money and I said, ‘I have to find money right now. How do I do it?’ I called every single restaurant and club in New York. I went to every place with my rhythm player. We sat with the owners, talked, and played guitar. Then we’d get the gig.”
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