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Jazz icon Van Minh to headline Ha Noi Opera House concerts

Apr 6, 2009

Vietnamnews - This month Hanoians can enjoy two jazz concerts by artist Quyen Van Minh and his bands at the Ha Noi Opera House.

The first concert Quyen Van Minh and Friends with Jazz tonight will feature the Minh’s jazz group Big Band Red River. The group will bring the big band sound to the city with its ensemble of 13 wind instruments, four trumpets, four trombones and five saxophones. The band will be accompanied by piano, bass, drum and young singer Ngoc Thuy.

The artists will perform classical jazz pieces and some works by Vietnamese composers such as Ha Dung and Quoc Truong.

The second concert, Father, Son and Jazz on April 27, will feature works composed by Luu Quang Minh, Quyen Van Minh and Quyen Thien Dac. Father and son found inspiration for their works in Vietnamese folklore music. The piece Vu Dieu Thang Long composed by Minh will be performed by the two artists to end the concert.

This is the second annual Father, Son and Jazz; it is being held again after being so well received last year.

"Last year, the concert Father, Son and Jazz celebrated my first solo performance at the opera house in 1994. It was held by the Viet Nam National Academy of Music and funded by the Swedish International Development Co-operation Agency," said Minh.

Minh said it was a landmark in his career, a show "sort of reviewing all the toil and tears, development and achievements" through all these years of playing jazz. The live show was named Father, Son and Jazz, because Minh performed alongside his own son, Dac, who is himself a talented jazz artist with a degree from Berkeley College of Music in Boston, the US.

For many years, father and son have been working hard to help create a distinctive Vietnamese jazz style that will be able to captivate domestic audiences as well as stand out on international stages.

Minh was raised in a family with a strong musical tradition. His father was an amateur guitarist and saxophonist. His mother, a singer with a wonderful alto, had to sacrifice her artistic career to raise her four kids.

Minh started teaching students the saxophone in 1988, most notably at the Viet Nam National Academy of Music, and dreamed of opening his own jazz club, especially after visiting such clubs in France and Germany in 1996.

In October 1997 he officially opened Viet Nam’s first jazz club at the Giang Vo Exhibition Centre, giving performances every night with the intent of increasing the skills of local artists, as well as the awareness of and interest in jazz among Hanoians.

His jazz club moved to Thang Long Theatre at 31 Luong Van Can Street in 1999 and continues its activities until now. The club has been an active participant in two European Jazz Festivals held in Ha Noi and other important events together with jazz artists from different countries including Germany, France, Norway, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland, among others.

Notably, the Red River Big Band performed in Singapore in 2001 and Hong Kong in 2002 and took part in the International Jazz Festival in Macao in September 2002.

Both concerts begin at 8pm at the Ha Noi Opera House.

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