Fascinated by the music of French Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, Taiwanese-Canadian guitarist Denis Chang’s formative years were spent alongside the Gypsies of France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, where he learned to play the style of music that is now known as Gypsy Jazz. There, he learned to understand the Romany way of life, and was completely immersed in the culture. He is one of the few gadje (non-Gypsy) to have learned Romanes, the language of the Gypsies. In concerts, he is one of the very few outside of the Gypsy community to sing rare Gypsy songs in Romanes. Audiences can expect to learn more about Gypsy culture and the meaning behind these rare songs!
His musical influences, however, are diverse; he grew up listening to classical music, rock and pop music, and everything in between. He is an internationally recognized ambassador of Gypsy Jazz; a style of music that has gained immense popularity around the world in recent years. It is featured extensively in films such as Swing Kids, Chocolate, The Aviator, Sweet And Lowdown, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Midnight In Paris, etc.
In 2008, Denis had the honor of being invited to perform with the legendary Les Paul at the Iridium in New York. In 2009, he received the Entrée en Scène Award by Loto-Quebec and the Résidence Award in Quebec City at the Rideau Showcase.
In 2012, he was invited to perform with the legendary Gypsy guitarist Dorado Schmitt (one of the stars of Tony Gatlif’s film “Latcho Drom”) at the end of his US tour. Dorado then gave Denis the guitar that he used for the tour; a generous gift that he treasures to this day.
He has worked with the top performers in Gypsy Jazz, such as The Rosenberg Trio, Joscho Stephan, Gonzalo Bergara, Paulus Schäfer, Tcha Limberger, to name just a few. Other renowned musicians that he has worked with include James Carter, Mark O’Connor, Stephane Wrembel, Frank Vignola, etc.
As a teacher, he is highly sought-after; he is regularly invited to give workshops in the context of his numerous tours since 2004. Students have traveled from as far as South Africa, the UK, California, for private lessons. Workshops have been held across Canada, the USA, Asia, and Europe.
He has performed across Canada, the USA, Europe, Japan, the UK, and Taiwan. With his own quartet, he has done extensive tours of concert halls in Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta.
He has produced a number of instructional DVDs in the Gypsy Jazz genre that were a critical international success; over 1000 DVDs sold within a year, and thousands more since the release of the first DVD in 2007.
This led to the creation of his online music school “DC Music School” that features some of the world’s best musicians in different styles and instruments; it is a site that now boasts over 5000 unique registered users from over 50 countries.
What the media says…
“The audience was mesmerized by the musical wizardry of Chang and hi back up musicians.” — LDNews, BC, Canada
“He plays faster than his shadow. As many know, that is also the case for many European Manouche gypsies […]. Denis, however, who is also equally at ease at Bebop and other jazz styles is somewhat of a Django cosmopolite. As such, he has assimilated both yesterday and today’s artforms.” — Jazz Podium, Germany