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Playing Jazz in Socialist Vietnam – This book is available for preorder on

Quyền Văn Minh (b. 1954) is not only a jazz saxophonist and lecturer at the prestigious Vietnam National Academy of Music, but he is also one of the most preeminent jazz musicians in Vietnam. Considered a pioneer in the country, Minh is often publicly recognized as the “godfather of Vietnamese jazz.” Playing Jazz in Socialist Vietnam tells the story of the music as it intertwined with Minh’s own narrative. Stan BH Tan-Tangbau details Minh’s life story, telling how Minh pioneered jazz as an original genre even while navigating the trials and tribulations of a fervent socialist revolution, of the ideological battle that was the Cold War, of Vietnam’s war against the United States, and of the political changes during the Đổi Mới period between the mid-1980s and the 1990s.

Minh worked tirelessly and delivered two breakthrough solo recitals in 1988 and 1989, marking the first time jazz was performed in the public sphere in the socialist state. To gain jazz acceptance as a mainstream musical art form, Minh founded Minh Jazz Club. With the release of his debut album of original compositions in 2000, Minh shaped the nascent genre of Vietnamese jazz.

Minh’s endeavors kickstarted the momentum, from his performing jazz in public, teaching jazz both formally and informally, and contributing to the shaping of an original Vietnamese voice to stand out among the many styles in the jazz world. Most importantly, Minh generated a public space for musicians to play and for the Vietnamese to listen. His work eventually helped to gain jazz the credibility necessary at the national conservatoire to offer instruction in a professional music education program.

Stan BH Tan-Tangbau paints a very vivid and moving portrait of Quyền Văn Minh and how through his perseverance and brilliance, jazz, specifically Vietnamese jazz, became a part of the national cultural heritage in Vietnam. Playing Jazz in Socialist Vietnam: Quyền Văn Minh and Jazz in Hà Nội opens a very new way for us to understand, research, and write about Vietnam and deserves to be included in the must-read list for resources about Vietnam studies. — Nguyen Van Chinh, associate professor and head of development anthropology at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, VNU, Hanoi

About the Author
Stan BH Tan-Tangbau is a Southeast Asian studies scholar specializing in cultural narratives and political and social change in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian Massif. His work has been published in such journals as Jazz Perspectives, Collaborative Anthropologies, Journal of Narrative Politics, and the Journal of Vietnamese Studies. In 2010, Tan-Tangbau founded Kachin Life Stories, a public autoethnographic project designed for the Kachin people originating from the uplands of northern Myanmar, and also Yunnan (China) and Arunachal Pradesh (India).

Quyền Văn Minh is recipient of the Eminent Artist Award from the government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. He has recorded ten jazz albums to date, beginning with Birth ‘99 released in 2000. Minh is the owner and resident principal musician of Bình Minh Jazz Club in Hà Nội, which has been around since 1997. He has been teaching at the Vietnam National Academy of Music since 1989, being the first lecturer of saxophone and jazz at the conservatoire.

Product details
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi (December 15, 2021)
Language: English
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496836340
ISBN-13: 978-1496836342
Item Weight: 1.11 pounds

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Binh Minh Jazz Club

Live music every night, begins at 9PM

  • Standard and traditional Jazz
  • Latin Jazz / Funky / Blue Jazz
  • Vietnamese songs with Jazz style

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