Denis Chang first joined our staff in Year 2 and has been with us ever since, which is to say, for some 14 years. In the early 2000’s Denis attracted the attention and earned the gratitude of many students of the style by virtue of his high-quality transcriptions of solos by Django Reinhardt and other GJ masters, especially those of the extended Rosenberg clan. Next came the authoritative DVD’s produced by HyperHip Media: Jazz Manouche: The Art of Accompaniment, and the four volume Jazz Manouche: Technique & Improvisation.
All along the way Denis has cultivated friendships and musical collaborations with many European masters of the style—some well-known, some less. No matter. Denis recognizes quality when he hears it. Lucky for us, he’s a quick learner and a generous teacher, so we have all had the benefit of his continued travels, his attentiveness to (some would say, obsession with) detail, and his eagerness to share.
Since 2011 Denis has been building an even wider platform from which to do that sharing. His DC Music School offers an ever-widening selection of carefully crafted instructional videos in a variety of styles, including Gypsy jazz offerings from the very best of the genre, four of whom are on staff at Django in June in 2018: Angelo Debarre, Sébastien Giniaux, Tcha Limberger and Gonzalo Bergara.
In these videos Denis rarely puts himself front and center, but here’s a rare exception to that rule:
Denis will be the first to tell you that as useful as video and written materials are, there’s no substitute for face to face connection and music-making. Nor are we looking for one. Getting together to make music is what Denis’ own travels and studies have been all about, and the instructional materials he now makes available through DC Music School serve that same end: to give you the tools and the tunes to participate in the music making yourself. Then, you too can slip into my office after hours at Django in June and make unauthorized videos.