Denis Chang (left) and Conn Stewart play at the Avalanche Feb. 12

Chang and Stewart team up for some jazz

Another week, another unique  Jazz at the Avalanche show on tap.

The Georgia Strait Jazz Society’s reputation continues to grow and jazz music fans are in for a rare treat this week when internationally renowned Montreal gypsy jazz guitarist Denis Chang appears (as the westernmost venue on his current Canadian tour) with our very own sax prodigy Conn Stewart, and a first call rhythm section Thursday, Feb. 12, at 7:30 p.m.

The performance will serve double duty, as it is also a farewell to Conn, who leaves shortly for Boston, and continuing studies at Berklee College of Music.

Fascinated by the music of French Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt,  Chang spent his formative years amongst the Gypsies of France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany, immersing himself in their culture, becoming one of the few “gadje” (non-Gypsy) to learn and sing in their language – Romanes –  and play in the style known as gypsy jazz. This style has gained immense popularity in recent years, featured extensively in films such and as Swing Kids, Chocolate, The Aviator, Sweet and Lowdown, Vicky Christina Barcelona, Midnight In Paris, and at annual festivals worldwide.

Now an internationally recognized ambassador of the music, Chang met Stewart when both were playing at the 2014 Victoria Django Festival, and asked him to sit in, playing clarinet. This led to invitations to appear on saxophones with him at the 2014 Montreal Jazz Festival, record a CD, and join him for concerts in Alberta, B.C., and at this year’s fourth annual Victoria Django Festival.

Chang has performed with a veritable who’s who of musicians, including guitar giant Les Paul at the Iridium in N.Y., legendary gypsy jazz guitarist Dorado Schmitt, top gypsy jazz artists The Rosenberg Trio, Joscho Stephan, Gonzalo Bergara, Paulus Schäfer, and Tcha Limberger, and saxophonist James Carter, violinist Mark O’Connor, and guitarists Stephane Wrembel and Frank Vignola.

Chang has performed across Canada, the US, Europe, Japan, the UK, and Taiwan and conducted extensive concert hall tours in Quebec, B.C. and Alberta. He is a highly sought-after teacher whose students travel from as far away as South Africa, the UK, and California.

His instructional gypsy jazz  DVDs are a critical international success with thousands sold, and have led to his online DC Music School, featuring some of the world’s best musicians in various styles. It now counts over 5,000 registered users from over 50 countries.

Admission to this performance is $10 for members and $12 for non-members.

For more information about the Jazz Society’s events, and activities, please visit


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