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Chris Minh Doky: Scenes From a Dream

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Bassist Chris Minh Doky’s 11th album presents a trio, with drummer Larry Goldings and drummer Peter Erskine, joined on most tracks by the Dutch Metropole Orchestra conducted by Vince Mendoza. Melancholy yet inspiring in tone and cinematic in quality, the music vividly depicts scenes and emotions with subtlety and sensitivity.

Opening the set is a poignant rendition of Don Grolnick’s “The Cost of Living,” dedicated to mentor Michael Brecker, with whom Doky played during Brecker’s final years. The album offers three of the bassist’s original tunes: “Arthos II” alludes to the ship which brought Doky’s father from Hanoi to Paris; “Rain” was inspired by the sound and rhythm of falling condensation, its enchanting melody enhanced by Mendoza’s grand arrangement; and “Dear Mom” is a touching ode to Doky’s ailing mother, capturing her singing voice. In homage to his Danish-Vietnamese heritage, Doky includes two Danish folk tunes and one Vietnamese traditional song, all speaking to themes of peace and tranquility. Mendoza contributes two compositions as well: The lyrical “Vienna Would” showcases the trio, while the beautifully arranged “Julio and Romiet” features tender bass and piano alongside hushed percussion and lush strings.

Goldings, Erskine and the orchestra offer fine, nuanced performances. Doky’s virtuosity, creativity and deep, warm tone tastefully utilize both the spaciousness and fullness of this music. In other words, his bass takes center stage without overwhelming the richness of the scenes created.

Originally Published