Author: denischang

Happy Birthday Django Reinhardt

Hello from Taipei, Taiwan! Today is Django Reinhardt’s 106th birthday! I was hoping to have the time to transcribe a lot of Django solos this week, but unfortunately, that didn’t happen. Nonetheless, I managed to wake up earlier today to transcribe one of my favorite Django solos from his rome sessions in 1949. The song is “It’s Only A Paper Moon” (you can download the transcription at the bottom of this post). Django Reinhardt. The man to whom I owe my entire career (OK, my family too). Truly one of the rare geniuses of 20th century. He called himself a jazz musician, but I think he was selling himself short (and he wasn’t exactly Mr. Humble); while he mainly used jazz to express himself musically, he was far more than just a jazz musician. He […]

Charlie Christian Lesson Project

Before I begin, I would like to give a big thanks to the fine folks at Lollar Pickups for providing me with a CC pickup, and a big thank you to my luthier Martin Tremblay for providing me with an ES-250 style guitar. Also, thanks to Michael Bauer for lending me a Gibson ES-150 and the Gibson EH-150 amplifier. DISCLAIMER: It’s a few hours before Christmas 2015, and in less than 48 hours, I will be flying to Taiwan for 3 months. The last few months have been incredibly hectic, and the last few days even worse. Balancing work, and holiday social obligations have left me with very little time to do the video linked below. I was supposed to start working on a Charlie Christian lesson project for DC Music School in August, but for […]

Gypsy Jazz Lessons

Please read the lessons page for general information about my lessons. So Gypsy Jazz interests you, and you don’t know where to start. You may have many questions concerning Django Reinhardt and Gypsy Jazz. You have read a lot of contradictory information on the Internet and you are more confused than ever. I can help you navigate the ambiguous world of Gypsy Jazz. For many years now, I have been deeply involved with this style of music, and the Gypsies who play it; you can read more about this in my bio. To me Django Reinhardt is not necessarily Gypsy Jazz, and even then, the term Gypsy Jazz can mean different things to different people. I would suggest that you read some of my articles on these subject matters: Sinti Culture Django Legacy, the birth of Gypsy […]

Skype / Internet Lessons

Please read the lessons page for general information about my lessons. While I very much prefer giving lessons in person for various reasons, I do offer various forms of Internet lessons. We can do Skype, Facetime, or you can send me questions, and I can make a custom video lesson for you. Coaching is a huge part of my lessons. The coaching process happens when we play together; I listen and observe carefully, and give you feedback. Unfortunately, that is not possible with any of these Internet options. The next best thing is to have you film yourself playing over backing tracks. Before we start any lesson, I would like to hear you play so that I can prepare the optimal lesson for you. I allow and highly recommend that you record our Skype/Facetime sessions so that […]

Music Lessons in Montreal, Quebec

Please read the lessons page for general information about my lessons. Did you somehow stumble on this website but don’t really know who I am? You can read about me here Hello friends from far away land!  If any of you would like to come to Montreal, Quebec to study with me, you can possibly stay with me. I live in the heart of Montreal, in a neighbourhood called the Plateau. I have two very comfy private guest room, and you will be very close to all the hot action in Montreal. These lessons are for reserved for serious and respectful students only. I simply ask that guests respect a few basic house rules, which we will discuss via email. As we would be living with each other, it’s important that we be on the same […]

The secrets of authentic Gypsy Jazz rhythm!

This article originally appeared on’s May 2015 blog. This version may differ in that it may have been updated since its original publication. Have you ever wanted to learn how to play authentic Gypsy Jazz rhythm? I can show you the secrets! This is a limited time offer only! Subscribe now! These secrets are so coveted, I’m giving it away for the low, low, LOW price of 19.99$ (Full retail value 499.99$!!!!). Subscribe soon, because I might have to take this down before the Gypsy Jazz police come after me! LOL! Do you ever watch some of your favourite Gypsy Jazz rhythm players and wonder how they do it? I can show you how! If you’re not satisfied with this lesson, I’ll offer you a full refund, no questions asked! SATISFACTION GUARANTEED! In this step-by-step guide, […]

Django Legacy – The birth of Gypsy Jazz

This article originally appeared on’s February 2015 blog. This version may differ in that it may have been updated since its original publication. Since the early 2000s, there has been a global surge in the popularity of Gypsy Jazz and the music of Django Reinhardt. Many articles have been written about it, and many myths have been perpetuated as to the origins of Gypsy Jazz. As of this date of January 23rd (Django’s birthday!), a quick Google search on the term “Gypsy Jazz” leads us to many pages (from Wikipedia, to the website of the Montreal International Jazz Festival, to various reputable international news organizations, etc.) with inaccurate information as to the history of Gypsy Jazz. In some instances, Klezmer bands are considered Gypsy Jazz! I must admit that I struggled a little bit with […]

Practicing, sincerity, awareness, and passion!

This article originally appeared on’s January 2015 blog. This version may differ in that it may have been updated since its original publication.   Greetings folks! Today, I would like to talk about two important, yet, often overlooked aspects of music: awareness and intent. These two terms are rather vague, indeed, but encompass many aspects of music, and I would like to focus on what I believe to be the most important ones. Many people contact me asking for advice on what they should be practicing; I strongly feel that understanding these issues will inevitably help you determine what you should be working on, as a musician. To start with, my reasons for generally appreciating an artist, are usually different than most people’s: to me, it is the very subtle, yet important details that I […]

Sinti culture, language, and the origin of the name “Django”

This article originally appeared on’s August 2014 blog. This version may differ in that it may have been updated since its original publication.   PREFACE Greetings dear readers. If you are reading this, then you are probably interested in the music of Django Reinhardt, or perhaps, interested in Romani culture. This article is about Sinti culture, Sinti language (Romanes), and the origin of the name Django. Before I begin, I would like to stress that this is, in no way, a scholarly article. This is strictly an account of my personal experiences. Furthermore, I am not a linguist nor do I consider myself a full-on expert on Gypsy culture; I can only talk about what I have personally observed over the years. Many scholarly articles/books have been written on this subject, and I will leave […]

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