Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The F Word: Tears in ¾ time

Posted By on Tue, Nov 12, 2019 at 5:10 PM

Got to poke my head into the studio during Scott Regan's "Open Tunings" broadcast Friday to eyeball French jazz guitarist Stephane Wrembel disassemble his guitar and the way I listen to it. He jumped and chopped and swirled about the neck on new material from his painstakingly researched album "Django L' impressionniste." He indicated in his mini-tutorials between numbers that Django's hints at Debussy and Ravel were really there, but damned if I could tell before Wrembel prompted me.

I doubled my pleasure, doubled my fun, and caught Wrembel Saturday night at Lovin' Cup for the second show of his two-night stand at the joint. The place was packed.

Wrembel opened the set by playing two cuts all by his lonesome, before being joined by his modest but wildly proficient backing ensemble. The entire combo burst into a waltz and I almost burst into tears. It was just so f***ing beautiful.

I told the slightly concerned woman next to me that my cat had died recently and yes, thanks, I was OK. I doubt she believed me as a few lonely tears rolled down my cheeks in ¾ time.

Wrembel continued with the between-song clarifications, explaining the songs' beauty and raw emotion above and beyond what we were hearing. Wrembel is charming as hell and not the least bit elitist, giving out-of-genre detours every once in a while — like the Bo Diddley beat he snuck in on his original composition "Apocalypse." This music is like ketchup; it's good with everything. Wrembel even mimicked his hero Django Reinhart by playing the first solo on "Minor Swing" with just two fingers.

***

Fired up the jalopy and pointed the operation downtown to see Sarah Borges & The Broken Singles rock the hell out of Abilene. Her guitarist Eric "Roscoe" Ambel is the kind of cat that makes an audible "thud" when his name is dropped. He is a founding member of Joan Jett & the Blackhearts and has worked with The Bottle Rockets, Jimbo Mathus, RUN DMC, and Steve Earle. He complimented Borges' voice with fills and textures and straight-ahead muscle and elbow grease.

And just like that, my tears were dry.

Frank De Blase is CITY's music writer. He can be reached at frank@rochester-citynews.com.

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