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 improvization 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.
No potential conflict of interest was reported by the authors.
Stan B. H. Tan-Tangbau http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0224-7034
Notes on contributors
Dr. Stan BH Tan-Tangbau is an Associate Professor at Vin University. Stan is a Vietnamologist specializing in agrarian change, ethnic relations and cultural narratives in Vietnam and the Southeast Asian Massif. In 2010, Stan 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 Học Viện Âm Nhạc Quốc Gia Việt Nam [Vietnam National Academy of Music] (formerly the Hà Nội National Music Conservatoire of Vietnam) since 1989, being the first lecturer of saxophone and jazz at the conservatoire.