Stephane Wrembel has been called “a revelation,” by Rolling Stone Magazine and “intense and full of charisma” by the New York Times. Woody Allen recruited him to score the theme for the smash film Midnight in Paris, and he performed his original song “Bistro Fada” live during the 2012 Academy Awards ceremony.
On Friday night, the French-born jazz guitarist and Grammy winner will leave the bright lights and big-city stages to perform in uptown Martinsville at the Rives Theatre.
Wrembel and his band will begin playing around 9 p.m., after an 8 p.m. opening set from the critically-acclaimed Ryan Cavanaugh Duo, which features electric banjo and drums. Tickets to the show, which is part of the Live at the Rives concert series, cost $12 in advance or $15 at the door.
Wrembel has performed at the Rives twice, and he’s played at the Rooster Walk Music & Arts Festival on two occasions, as well. His band, which also features a rhythm guitarist, drummer and upright bass player, tours internationally from their home base of Brooklyn, N.Y.
“The last time we played in Martinsville, we had such an incredible connection with the people. And then at the Rooster Walk, the people were so, so amazing,” Wrembel said prior to his last appearance at the Rives. “To me there is zero difference between size of town, location - it doesn’t matter. I don’t play for the size of the town or something like that. … That was amazing, that show we had in Martinsville last time. I don’t know how to explain it, but people just loved the music. Usually, when we are done with a show, people will come talk to us and have a lot of technical questions. But I didn’t have that once in Martinsville. It was like, ‘Oh, we loved the music.’ It was pure enjoyment of music without trying to explain it. I found that quite amazing. We love it.”
Wrembel, who earned a scholarship to the prestigious Berklee College of Music, will be preceded by another prodigiously talented musician when the Ryan Cavanaugh Duo performs its opening 45-minute set.
Cavanaugh became internationally known on the jazz scene by touring as a full-time member of noted saxophonist Bill Evans’ Soulgrass band. He joined the band in 2005, replacing Bela Fleck.
In fact, it was a recommendation from Fleck and Soulgrass guitarist John McLaughlin that earned Cavanaugh a tryout with the group. Six years later, Fleck told Elmore Magazine that Cavanaugh was “one of the best technical players ever.”
“We have a lot of great shows at the theatre every year, and a lot of different kinds of music cross our stage,” said Shane Pinkston, president of Arts at the Rives Theatre. “But you will be hard-pressed to find two more talented acts than Stephane Wrembel and Ryan Cavanaugh. This really is going to be a special night of music in Martinsville.”
Doors to the theatre will open at 7 p.m. All seating is general admission and first-come, first-served.