Stan B. H. Tan-Tangbau

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Former Associate Professor & Director of General Education Program


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    Quyền Văn Minh and the Birth of Vietnamese Jazz
    (2019-05-30) Stan B. H. Tan-Tangbau; Quyen Van Minh
    Written in the form of a collaborative narrative, this paper is an account of the live concert at the Hà Nội Opera House on 12 April 1994, an important chapter in the story of Quyền Văn Minh and jazz in modern day Vietnam. Quyền Văn Minh had earlier brought jazz to the public sphere in socialist Vietnam with two groundbreaking concerts in 1988 and 1989. For this solo concert in 1994, Quyền Văn Minh premiered three of his original jazz compositions. Each tune was inspired by the sounds of different ethnic folk music Minh heard during his travels as a musical cadre in socialist Vietnam during the 1970s and 1980s. Minh wrote original melodies and made room for improvisation in his compositions to tell the stories he had in mind with his music. With this performance, Minh stamped his mark as the pioneer bona fide jazz musician in the early Đổi Mới years of Vietnam. More significantly, a new genre of sounds in the form of Vietnamese jazz was born that evening. This paper is part of a larger book project on the life story of Quyền Văn Minh and the story of jazz in Vietnam under the socialist state.