Opinions on "Django's Rhythm" by Michael Dun?

Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
edited February 2009 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 629
Is anyone familiar with this instructional DVD? I have not seen this DVD discussed on this forum or elsewhere.

Any opinions as to whether this is good for an entry level GJ rhythm player (with some general chord/rhythm knowledge)? I don't want to overwhelm her with information quite yet, but she just needs to find a starting point. We are going to be doing a lot of homework prior to attending Gonzalo Bergara's Gypsy Swing Workshop at DjangofestLA at the end of April.
DJANGO's RHYTHM- By Michael Dun (DVD) In the world of Gypsy Jazz, the original Quintette of the Hot Club of France achieved an energy output seldom equaled or surpassed for 7 decades or so. Django wanted to have two rhythm guitars behind him when he soloed to give him a full sound. Then when Grappelli soloed, Django would interject himself between Grappelli and the rhythm guitar section. From this vantage point, he would 'push' Grappelli with a series of well placed shots, shuffles, and turnarounds that would have the effect of driving the group to a greater energy output as the song approached its conclusion. In this DVD, the classic 4-to-the-bar rhythm is broken down into four separate unsable styles. After that, Django's syncopated rhythm shots are analyzed and presented by example from a simple backbeat to 2-bar long syncopated strums. My own philosophy is that the rhythm guitar section is the most important component of the Gypsy Jazz group. The rhythm guitar should be in a position to drive and not follow the group. The information contained in this DVD will give you the rhythmic tools to infuse the sound with the energy that this genre of music deserves. 35 Minutes, DVD.
Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz


  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    Tele- hey man as far as I know this is not a DVD about rhythm playing in Jazz Maznouche. but more of a video about Django's chord hits and tremelos. If you want toget a good DVD on rhythm I would get Dennis' art of accompniment DVD it is more expensive but way more thorough. I think as long as you have rudimentary chord knowledge it can take you from no pompe to solid pompe. I am not writing this to dis Michael or his video but I seem to remember quite a bit of discussion either on the uk boards or maybe the yahoo groups where this topic came up about it not being a good DVD and this and that and I believe Michael clarified that his intention with the DVD was not to teach La pompe but to examine Django's rhythmic playing.
    (in full disclosure I don't have a stake in Dennis DVDs I think are good resources though.)
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
    Posts: 629
    Thanks, Caleb. That's precisely the sort of info I'm looking for. The description (and I won't lie, price) sounded appealing, as did the 35 minute length (keep it simple). I was thinking it might be a good prelude to getting into more extensive material by Denis and our own M. Horowitz. Multi volumes and multiple CD sets are a bit daunting at the entry level. We did all that heavy studying in grad school, so this is supposed to be fun! Call us Doctors Lazy and Lazier now. :lol:

    However, the discussion we had over coffee this morning is that we can't just pick this out ourselves from our favorite GJ materials. We need proper instruction, and will be doing a lot of homework to prepare for Gonzalo's Gypsy Swing Workshop at Djangofest LA in April.

    We just need to pick a place and start. My skillset is more advanced than hers, so our choice of materials will differ. Further, she is more than happy to just play rhythm or sing, while I handle all the "fancy work."

    We are breathing this stuff full-time for the past few weeks. I had to listen to some vintage blues-rock music yesterday for work (really!) and it sounded so foreign to me.
    Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz
  • Michael Dunns DVD was the rhythm dvd of choice for many years I think. His was the first rhythm dvd to come out and there wasn't anything else for a few years after that. The level of education materials has since become far more advanced in the gypsy jazz genre. You can find much more modern and well-honed videos and books in the last few years on these subjects.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    I haven't watched Dunn's DVD.

    Denis Chang's DVD, sounds exactly like what you need, he starts from the very basics and ends on the advanced tricks, with this video you'll learn all you need to play a good pompe and beyond. Well worth the $$$
    To me this is THE essential rhythm DVD.

    Afterwards I'd definitely get Michael Horowitz' book, it's like an encyclopedia and you can get deeper and deeper into advanced chords, different schools of rhythm, more tricks, transcriptions, the whole enchilada!
  • blindjimmyblindjimmy phoenix,az✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 119
    I have the Michael Dunn and the Dennis Chang rhythm dvd's. There may be a couple of moves on the Dunn that Dennis does not cover, but, in terms of bang for the buck, go for Dennis. It's longer, there is a lot of info, and he has three students there so you will see some common mistakes, and how to avoid them. And be sure to check out Michaels Gypsy Rhythm book from this website. And, listen to LOTS of Hot Club recordings.
    shut up and play your guitar
  • fozboxfozbox Salt Lake CityNew
    Posts: 12
    I've tried both the Michael Dunn and Denis Chang videos. Bought the Michael Dunn on ebay very cheap (can't remember how much, but I think it was only about $10 or $15). If you think of it as a very inexpensive guitar lesson that you get to keep and review, it's well worth it. It gives you at least a week or two of things to practice and 3 or 4 basic chords. It's quick. It's easy. You can start making gypsy sounds right away.

    I paid 4 or 5 times as much for the Denis Chang video and it has easily 10 times the info. It's like buying a couple of months of lessons. I'm glad I bought them both, but if I were to recommend one, Denis' is definitely more comprehensive. He's a great teacher.
  • Tele295Tele295 San Buenaventura (Latcho Drom), CA✭✭✭ Gitane DG300, D500
    Posts: 629
    Does Denis' accompaniment DVD come with written material?
    Jill Martini Soiree - Gypsy Swing & Cocktail Jazz
  • fozboxfozbox Salt Lake CityNew
    Posts: 12
    No. It's the observe, try method, in the Gypsy tradition. Search Denis Chang on youtube for some sample lessons.
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