About Jazz Club
Vietnam and Jazz?
Who plays Jazz in Vietnam? Does Jazz even exist in Vietnam?
They don't even have Jazz CDs sold in the city...
I wouldn't blame you for asking these questions, as most people are surprised when they come to The Jazz Club by Quyen Van Minh (31 Luong Van Can, Hanoi, Vietnam).
Located in the old Quarters of central Hanoi, you can hear live performance of Jazz every night flooding from the Club into the city. As you are led by the swingin' rhythm, you'll be stunned to see a 17 year old boy banging on his drum set with confusing Latin rhythms, a 19 year old blasting his sax solo so wild that you never knew a saxophone could make sounds like that, the pianist playfully combines traditional Jazz chords with Asian harmonies and themes, and the bassist softly plays his usual running bass at 185bpm.
Now, let's take a seat.
While you are taking your seat, you'll see the band leader/owner, Quyen Van Minh, carefully looking over his musicians and soon, he will join them playing three different solos on three different saxes. After joining, the band's tension rises to its fullest and the performance ends with everyone's astound, but smiling faces.
Apart from all that music, many people come back because they like Minh. He would go around every table to greet all of his customers. His heart-warming character, which also reflects in his music, makes people happy.
Quyen Van Minh
I have started this Jazz Club about a year ago. It was my 3rd time opening the jazz club after being kicked out of the previous places. For many years, I've dreamed of owning a place where there is live performance of Jazz every night and where people of many countries can come, talk, and have a good time.
I like the name "Jazz Club". It's a place for everybody. This is not your typical "Jazz snob" place. Everyone can enjoy listing to good music, eat good food, and even join our performance! We sometimes have foreigners performing with us. Some are great and some are not, but still, we really get inspired by all of them bringing in many different cultures from around the would. This is truly an international gathering.
During last Tet (Old New Year), the place was packed with cheerful people! We had this really good vibe going with the musicians and the listeners. The atmosphere was just fabulous! This is what I've always dreamed of...
What I really want now is for the Vietnamese people to listen and love Jazz. The music is still too new here, so I'm trying to make my own style of music by mixing traditional Vietnamese theme and Jazz. I think my style of music will be close to the Vietnamese heart, but at the same time, something new and exotic to the listeners outside of Vietnam.
I'm already 46. Ever since I first started Jazz in Vietnam, I worked alone. I had support from no one. But as I continued playing Jazz, and soon after, many good friends came along who helped me lay down the tracks to the future of Vietnamese Jazz. I feel this is for Vietnamese Jazz musicians of the next generation. I'm still have to keep myself busy, but I'm happy now.
What's cookin' at the Jazz Club
-Japanese media covers Quyen Van Minh-
NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyoukai, Japanese National Television) has aired a 30 minute program called "Meeting a New Asia" on Quyen Van Minh and the Jazz Club. It was on 23rd of May from 10:05 to 10:29 all over the world. If you had missed the program, you can watch the rerun on Friday, 28th of May from 9:05 to 9:29am (Vietnam, Thailand time). The web site about the actual program is here.
-Koichi Hiroki Quartet Concert in Hanoi-
Koichi Hiroki, one of the top Jazz guitarists in Japan will be coming to Hanoi with his band, "New Vision". They will first be performing in the Jazz festival of the King of Thailand in Thailand. After the concert there, they are planning to do a concert (including sessions with Minh's band) and Jazz workshop (sponsored by the Hanoi Conservatoire) in Hanoi around mid-August. You can check out Koichi Hiroki's website at http://www.hirokimusic.com/
-Quyen Thien Dac visits Tokyo, Japan-
On the first night of his arrival, he went to see Kazumi Watanabe. We had asked his manager if Dac can perform with him, but since this night was not a session day, it was not possible for him to perform there. A week after, he performed at the free jam session day.
Dac had performed with pianist Nobu Tanaka, who is the member of Koichi Hiroki's band, "New Vision" at Jazz Club "Aireign" in Yokohama. Dac was thrilled to perform with these top Japanese Jazz Musicians. They promised to jam again in Hanoi, hopefully in August.
-Quyen Van Minh visits and performs in Japan-
Quyen Van Minh has made a two-week visit to Tokyo and Okinawa, Japan to perform with renowned Japanese jazz musicians. Visit this link for more details.
-Quyen Van Minh records new album, "Birth"-
Quyen Van Minh has finished recording the first ever Vietnamese jazz album released to the world. For more details, you can visit here. If you live outside of Japan, you can e-mail directly to the Jazz Club to buy this CD.
-Guitarist Nguyen Le visits the Jazz Club-
Vietnamese-French guitarist Nguyen Le stopped by the Jazz Club during his private trip to Vietnam. He joined the band to play some songs and ended up becoming the wildest jam session at the Jazz Club ever. You can go here for the details.
-Bassist Chris Minh Doky visits the Jazz Club-
Vietnamese-Danish bassist Chris Minh Doky finally had the chance to "come back" to Vietnam and visited the Jazz Club. Now one of the hottest jazz bassist in New York City, he jammed with the band with the latest style of the Big Apple. Read the article from the Vietnam News Agency. Too bad they miss-spelled his name "Doky" as "Dorky"... and refer to him as a guitarist.
-Quyen Thien Dac visits New York City-
A dream for every jazz musician. Dac luckily was able to make a week visit to the Big Apple! You can read all the excitement here
-Dac and Hung studies at Berklee School of Music-
Well not quite... They have auditioned for Berklee School of Music World Scholarship Audition in Seoul, Korea. Although they were successful in getting partial scholarship, now they are waiting for the results of the application. You can read about the audition here and continues here. It's was like comedy...
-Dac and Hung performs in Seoul, Korea and FCC Hong Kong-
During their dates of audition, Dac and Hung had the chance to jam with the local musicians at jazz club, "One Upon a Blue Moon". They were welcomed by the kind musicians and the crowd loved them! On their way back to Hanoi, they stopped by Hong Kong and performed with the house band of FCC (Foreign Correspondents Club). It was second time for Dac. Great time... most definitely...
-Chris Minh Doky Band plans to visit Hanoi for performance-
Chris Minh Doky, who had visited the Jazz Club in February, plans to come back to Vietnam with his trio for performance in September. You can check his schedule on his website.
-Master of Okinawa Jazz booked to perform-
Jazz pianist, Fumio Yara who had started and kept the "Okinawa Jazz" movement after WWII, plans to come with his trio to Hanoi in September for performance at the Jazz Club. Minh and Yara had met in Okinawa in 1999 when Minh visited Okinawa and Yara's jazz club.
-The Jazz Club Band performs in Singapore-
Quyen Van Minh and the Red River Band has performed at The Theatere, University Cultural Center in Singapore on 10 May, 2000. They are introduced as: The legendary Vietnamese jazz man Quyen Van Minh brings his unique brand of jazz to Singapore. Minh had first experimented mixing traditional Vietnamese themes with Jazz over 10 years ago. Since then, he felt the need to create his own style as a Vietnamese saxophonist and composer in order to be heard by listeners around the world. Together with his Red River Band, Minh will perform in an electrifying one-night only campus concert which will show his strong foundation in American jazz and yet demonstrating incredible skill at fusing elements of native Vietnamese music to create a sound totally his own.
-Quyen Thien Dac to study at Berklee with scholarship -
Although there are several Vietnamese musicians who have studied at Berklee School of Music, including Minh's former student, saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan, Dac is the first Vietnamese musician to study for a diploma with a scholarship from the school. In addition, the house pianist, Pham Le Phuong will also start studying at the conservatory in Chicago with a scholarship starting this fall. We will miss both of them at the Jazz Club, but will look forward in seeing them perform with the best on the stages of the world.