Gypsy Jazz Fest Coming to Vancouver

Django_Reinhardt_(Gottlieb_07301)Ready to get down to some gypsy jazz?

The annual April in Paris festival comes to Vancouver’s St. James Hall, April 25-April 27, celebrating the unmistakeable rhythms and energy of gypsy jazz.  Pioneered in 1930s’ France by the likes of guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli, the distinctive music combines a dark, chromatic style typical of traditional “gypsy” music with the swing and virtuosity of jazz.  

Van Django

Van Django

The festival kicks off on Friday, April 25, at 8 p.m. with one of Canada’s best known gypsy jazz ensembles, local act Van Django.  Consisting of a guitarist, violinist, cellist and bassist, the group plays “acoustic string hot jazz,” a top-tapping style that’s hard not to dance to. Opening for the ensemble is Romanian virtuoso violinist Lache Cercel, who integrates gypsy jazz stylings and classical influences.

Deanna Knight. PHOTO (c) Amanda Bullick - Brutally Beautiful Photography

Deanna Knight. PHOTO (c) Amanda Bullick – Brutally Beautiful Photography

On Saturday, April 26, at 8 p.m. travel back in time to a 1930s Parisian cabaret courtesy of Deanna Knight and the Hot Club of Mars.  While the seven-piece gypsy-swing ensemble pulses away on stage, swing dancers take to the dance floor, with special intermissions for a burlesque show and even a magician.  Led by the sultry vocals of Deanna Knight, the group performs a mix of jazz, tango, bossa, boogie and more.

Company B Jazz Band

Company B Jazz Band

The festival caps off on Sunday, April 27, at 7 p.m. with a trio of hot jazz performances. Company B Jazz Band offers up vintage swing performed by a trio of female vocalists and full jazz ensemble.  Guitarist Marc Atkinson and his trio offer fiery rhythms and technically perfect playing, while soloist Paul Pigat provides some dazzling plucking of his own.

Throughout the festival, novice swing dancers can also get free lessons at the start of each show courtesy of the Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret.  All shows are $26 and are at St. James Hall, the former church – revamped as a funky music venue – in Kitsilano.

For more information, visit the Rogue Folk Club website.

Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza.  

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