Tuesday Special Offerings

In 2022 we will again offer a selection of special workshops on the Tuesday (June 14) before Django Camp proper gets under way. You have carved out a chunk of precious time for Django in June. These Tuesday offerings are one more way to get the most of it.

Before reading on, please note a few things:

Immediately below you have a quick overview of this year’s offerings. Click on any title to jump to a more detailed description or simply scroll on down the page. As you scan the titles, please note the instruments and ability-level for which the workshop is intended. Class size is limited and these workshops do fill up (some, very quickly) so we encourage you to register early. Really.

Meet, Greet and Play All Day 

Various Instructors
All instruments / All levels / Unlimited number of participants.

(Re-)Intro to Gypsy Jazz Guitar

Denis Chang
Guitar / Levels 1 and 2 / Limited to 14 participantsFULL

Jazz Violin with Aaron Weinstein

Aaron Weinstein
Violin / All levels / Limited to 12 participantsFULL

Choro for Gypsy Jazzers

Olli Soikkeli, Cesar Garabini with Susanne Ortner and Dallas Vietty
All instruments / Levels 2-4 / Limited to 25 participants.

A Day with Oscar Aleman

Greg Ruby
Guitar / All Levels / Limited to 15 participants.

Meet, Greet and Play All Day

Multiple Instructors
All Instruments / All Levels

The feedback we receive every year tells us that nothing will make or break your experience of Django Camp more than this one thing: having a few tunes you can jam on, and finding “your people” to hang with. Django in June is entirely oriented toward participatory music-making with real live people. Your people are the ones you recognize and know by name, who play more or less at your level, and with whom you share some common repertoire. They are the ones you connect with between classes and in the evening under the stars; they are the ones you may well stay in touch with after DiJ is over, and the ones you’ll look forward to seeing the following year.

We offer Meet, Greet and Play All Day to make sure this piece is in place from before the get-go. The day-long workshop will consist of three 90-minute facilitated jam sessions during which you’ll play through tunes we have made available on the “Get Ready Musically” pages of this website. We’ll organize the groups into 3 levels of ability to insure that everyone moves at an appropriate pace and meets other compatible musicians. You determine your own level, and you are welcome to change levels at any point if you’d like. Here’s how the levels break down:

Meet Greet and Play All Day is designed for mixed instrumentation, so it will provide a great way to not only widen your circle of friends attending Django in June but lend that circle some instrumental variety as well. By the time orientation comes round Tuesday evening you’ll have refreshed your memory on some great jam tunes, warmed up your fingers and met (or re-connected with) your peeps. A smart start to Django Camp, indeed.

(Re-)Intro to Gypsy Jazz Guitar

Denis Chang
Guitar / Levels 1 and 2 / Limited to 14 participants

(This workshop is already full, but here’s the description.)

In his capacity as head of DC-Music School Denis Chang spends his year working with the best Gypsy jazz guitarists in the world. Together they create instructional videos that provide students with an in-depth look at how each artist approaches rhythm and lead. Denis often has to coach the artists themselves so as to highlight whatever it is that makes their playing distinctive. He and his team then transcribe everything shown in the videos.

All of this is to say that Denis knows as much as anyone on the planet as to what Gypsy jazz guitarists really do when they sit down to play. In this day-long workshop he’s going to boil that down to the essentials for two kinds of folks:

Bring your beginner’s mind.

Jazz Violin with Aaron Weinstein

Aaron Weinstein

Violin / All levels / 12 participants

(This workshop is already full, but here’s the description.)

Our old friend and many-times-staffer Aaron Weinstein won’t be able to join us for all of Django Camp this year, but he can make it for a day. That is a day jazz violinists will not want to miss. Regarding the content, Aaron has this to say:

We all know that the violin is an amazing Jazz instrument. But it can also be its own worst enemy. We’ll explore how to play authentic Jazz solos on the violin while becoming aware of instrument’s potential stylistic pitfalls so we can avoid them like Covid-19. Participation will be limited, so everyone will have plenty of opportunity to solo and receive feedback. 

For another little preview of Aaron’s thinking, here are two other things he shared as we were discussing the workshop:

Choro for Gypsy Jazzers

Olli Soikkeli and Cesar Garabini with Susanne Ortner and Dallas Vietty
All instruments / Levels 2-4 / Limited to
25 participants.

Many Gypsy jazz musicians are familiar with at least a few so-called “Latin” rhythmic styles – Gypsy bolero, rumba, tango, etc – that have been introduced into the genre. Few, however, are familiar with rhythms and repertoire of Brazilian “choro” and the ways it has been adapted to the jazz manouche setting. The association, however, is long-standing. Fapy Lafertin, for example, included four choros on his 2001 release with Tim Kliphuis, Fleur d’Ennui. Gonzalo Bergara includes choros in his repertoire, and Renaud Dardenne has used both “Receita de samba” and “Chorando baixinho.” in his classes here at Django in June.

Guitarists Olli Soikkeli and Cesar Garabini have been exploring and deepening the Gypsy jazz / choro connection for several years now. In this day-long workshop they will offer players of all instruments the essentials they need to start adapting choros to the gypsy jazz context. Each of three 90-minute sessions will focus on a different rhythm and one tune typically played in it. Class will consist of:

Below you see the rhythms and tunes that Olli, Cesar and their helpers will be covering.

About the assistant teachers: Susanne Ortner is a New Orleans-based clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer. Equally conversant in jazz, classical and various ethnic musics she has been a passionate student of choro in recent years. In 2019 she attended Choro Camp New England’s inaugural outing and now hosts the Choro Challenge Facebook group. You can learn more about accordionist Dallas Vietty by following this link. He too has caught the choro bug in recent years and attended Choro Camp last year.

Please note: this workshop is explicitly an exploration of choro in a Gypsy jazz setting. For those with an interest in the genre as it is traditionally played in Brazil, please check out Andrew’s other music camp, Choro Camp New England. It’s too much fun, but apart from that it’s OK.

A Day with Oscar Aleman

Greg Ruby
Guitar / All Levels / Limited to 15 participants

Well, OK, it’s really a day with Greg Ruby. But Greg wrote the book on Oscar Alemán – “The Oscar Alemán Play-Along Songbook”, that is – so he’s as close as any of us will get to a day with the Argentinian master.

Alemán’s inimitable style of swing guitar playing reaches back to the earliest days of Hot Club jazz. Before Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli recorded their first notes as the Quintette of Hot Club of France, Alemán was already an in-demand guitarist on the 1930’s Parisian jazz scene—leading Josephine Baker’s backing band, performing with ex-patriot American jazz musicians and even receiving an offer to join the Duke Ellington Orchestra. Without question, Ellington was correct when he remarked about Alemán, “this cat has roots.”

Your day with Oscar and Greg will be broken into three parts:

Licks, Solos and Melodic Interpretation a la Alemán
Oscar Alemán had an impeccable sense of swing and played with exciting rhythmic punctuations, syncopation, a horn-like attack, and sharp attention to detail. In this workshop, plan to learn classic Oscar Alemán guitar licks, examine a transcribed improvised solo and to develop an understanding of how he approaches a melody.

Alemán Accompaniment
Oscar Alemán rarely strummed chords to accompany a soloist. Instead, he used arpeggios, ostinato figures, counter-lines and rhythmic punctuation. In Alemán Accompaniment, plan to learn some of his approaches and tricks to add exciting accompaniment ideas to your vocabulary.

Oscar Alemán and the Art of the Out Chorus
Oscar Alemán would often compose contrafact melodies or riff choruses as the final chorus of his arrangements. In this session you’ll learn several of them while deepening your understanding to his approach to arranging.