Skip to content

Gypsy jazz kicks off new year for Port Moody music series

Van Django, a quartet of violin, cello, bass and guitar, is the fourth show in the inaugural Inlet Theatre Music Series.
Van Django will perform in Port Moody on Jan. 21, 2023, as part of the Inlet Theatre Music Series.

Cameron Wilson gets excited when gigs come up in January.

The first month of the year, he said, is typically slow, so when a date is booked in a good venue like Port Moody’s Inlet Theatre, most musicians jump at the chance to perform.

Such is the case for Van Django, a Lower Mainland-based gypsy jazz quartet that will play the fourth show in the inaugural Inlet Theatre Music Series in Port Moody.

The band of professional musicians — made up of Wilson on violin, Budge Schachte on guitar, Finn Manniche on guitar and cello, and Brent Gubbels on bass — is set to make its Port Moody début later this month after an invite from the series' co-organizer Bill Sample.

"I've worked with Bill off and on for the last 20 years on various musical projects," Wilson told the Tri-City News, noting their last meeting was the Hard Rubber New Music Society’s King Crimson tribute at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver in 2018.

Now, with the public health orders over following the two-year COVID-19 pandemic, Wilson said Van Django is ready to hit the road and, hopefully, to record some new material this fall.

"This year is busier than ever," Wilson said. "It's like a floodgate has opened. People want to hear live music again."

The Port Moody show will be similar to Van Django's past events, including at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam. There will be two 45-minute sets filled with tunes from its last three albums: Tiptoe Trip, Waltz in the Shape of a Tree and Hotel Europe.

But there will be a few new originals thrown in for good measure, too.

With the django genre, which was made famous in Paris, France, in the 1930s, "it's an endless category," Wilson said.

"There's lots of material. There's always a new django tune to learn and put a new spin on."

During the pandemic, Wilson said, Van Django managed to get out a few times for live performances with symphony orchestras in Vancouver, Kamloops and, mostly recently, Victoria, as well as smaller clubs.

Separately, Wilson also performed in the Arts Club Theatre’s The Sound of Music pit orchestra. And, on Jan. 15, he and Gubbels will be at the Kay Meek Arts Centre in North Vancouver, with guitarist Bill Coon, as the BBC Trio to play a variety of standards and originals.

Meanwhile, Wilson and Gubbels are also part of a band called The Wahs, a trio that has a Get Back Unplugged Beatles tribute. And in April, Wilson is off to Ontario to perform with a piano group.

"After two years of not really doing anything, it’s nice to be doing something," Wilson added.

"We want to thank Bill Sample for having us out to introduce Van Django to the Port Moody audience and to learn more about this genre of music.

"If you haven’t heard it before, there’s so much stuff on YouTube. It’s going through a renaissance and young people in Paris are playing the style again. It’s a pretty cool form of music: energetic, powerful and elegant. And all string acoustic."

Van Django is scheduled to perform on Jan. 21 at the Inlet Theatre in side Port Moody city hall (100 Newport Dr.).

For more information, including purchasing tickets, you can visit the music series' EventBrite page.

The Jane Mortifee Band will headline the fifth show on Feb. 18; the Dawn Pemberton Band on March 31; and the Vince Mail Quintet on May 6.