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QUYEN VAN MINH - BINH MINH JAZZ CLUB

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Quyen Van Minh
Quyen Thien Dac

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Father, son and Jazz

Oct 2, 2005

Vietnamnet - If counting artist Quyen Van Minh in the first generation playing Jazz in Vietnam, Quyen Thien Dac belongs to the sixth. Yet, I still want to write about them as two generations. The distance between the two generations is only 25 years, but each of them has made important landmarks in the development of Jazz in Vietnam



From the national superiority complex

Emeritus Artist Quyen Van Minh has never told about the time he had to listen to the radio under a blanket and pedal to the Hanoi Conservatory to learn music by imitation. It was a hard time but full of his passion for music. However, he always remembers: “In hotels and bars stayed mainly foreigners who listened attentively to sweet melodies from my saxophone. My performance ended to the thunderous applause from the audience and then there surely was someone who asked me ‘Where are you from?’ and they didn’t believe that Vietnamese people could play the popular music. My pride was seriously hurt and that inspired me to prove that the Vietnamese people might be materially poor but they are culturally rich and can do everything”. And from then Jazz began to be known in Vietnam.

At that time, Saxophone remained strange to music lovers in Vietnam. With the first solo performance in 1988, Quyen Van Minh helped the Saxophone approach the Vietnamese music lovers and Minh, his Saxophone and the special music, full of impromptu called Jazz gradually became a favourite to the Vietnamese audience. He was invited to teach at Hanoi Conservatory and he had many successful performances. “In 1997, I was awarded the Emeritus Artist Title and had two choices: organizing a solo performance to affirm myself or establishing a Jazz Club. If a Jazz Club is established, many young artists will support me to develop Jazz in Vietnam and I will play Jazz to my own liking. For this reason, the Jazz Club was established”.

To the shame of a lazy boy

Quyen Thien Dac came to Jazz not because of his passion for it but his father’s aspiration and urge. His story began in an evening when his father was busy and asked Dac to replace him playing at a French restaurant. However, the restaurant manager stopped him and said: “That’s all, you needn’t continue playing. You can sit here and we still pay you. Everyone will wait for your father”. Feeling so ashamed and bitter, the boy returned home. After years of practice he became a talented artist.

At the Jazz Club, Dac told me about the hard time when he studied in the US and his efforts to learn well in order to compensate for his father who had to work hard and sell five of seven beloved Saxophones to have money for his son’s schooling. At the ceremony of graduation, under the national flag of Vietnam, Dac couldn’t hold back his tears when receiving the degree of excellence. He understood his father’s expectation and his generation’s responsibility for the development of Jazz in Vietnam. For this reason, Quyen Thien Dac, at the age of 25, has obtained great success with four performances that surprised the Vietnamese music circle. He has two CDs of his first works, of which “Vietnam- the Image of Homeland” is recorded with the combination between Jazz and Vietnamese folk music, the way his father did but with more creativity and more vigor.

Dac also talked a lot about his aspiration and plans. However, he is most keen on recording the Vietnamese folk music by Saxophone although he knows that it is very difficult. He wants to bring Jazz music nearer to the Vietnamese audience and introduces Jazz of Vietnam to the world.

(Source: Vietnam Pictorial)

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