Vietnamese-French Nguyen Le is an internationally renown guitarist, composer, arranger, and producer. The New York Times calls him “one of the most creative of the many jazz players exploring the marriage of ‘America’s classical music’ with traditional music from everywhere else.” NPR raves about his latest album and performance at the New York GlobalFEST.
Nguyen Le has been touring all over Europe, US, and Asia. If you haven’t had a chance to catch him in concert and live in the Bay Area, you’re in luck. Nguyen Le will perform tomorrow night at Santa Clara University, and we have two free tickets for you.
First reader to answer the following question will receive a pair of tickets to see Nguyen Le. Send your responses to Chi Nguyen at email@example.com.
Answer to Win: Name the album by Nguyen Le that received “1989’s Best World Music Album” by Liberation.
Friday, October 21st 2011 @ 7:00 p.m.
Santa Clara University Recital Hall
Click here for tickets and event details
More on Nguyen Le: Nguyen Le is often thought of as a matchmaker of Western Jazz and Vietnamese Traditional Folk Music. Began playing the drums at 15, Nguyen Le is a self-taught musician in rock, funk, jazz, to African, Caribbean, Indian, and Vietnamese music. Chosen directly by director Antoine Hervé to join the French National Jazz Orchestra in 1987, Le played next to many great musicians namely Johnny Griffin, Louis Sclavis, Didier Lockwood, Carla Bley, Steve Swallow, Randy Brecker, Toots Thielemans, Courtney Pine, Steve Lacy, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gil Evans, Quincy Jones.
Le’s journey to rediscover his Vietnamese roots began in his early adulthood of 1995. He recorded “Tales from Vietnam”, a special project with an 8-piece band and combining jazz and traditional musicians. Le said, “For a long time, I had dreamt of a band mixing jazz musicians with Vietnamese traditional musicians, playing a music inspired by the songs my mother used to sing to me. Born in Paris from Vietnamese parents, I lost the Vietnamese language when I began school. Only in Sept. ’94 did I feel confident and experienced enough to begin “Tales of Viêt-Nam.” It is a journey back into my childhood, a return to lost roots. But it also means the creation of an imaginary folklore that stems from a crossroads of contemporary influences.” The CD has received a great welcoming from international critics : Diapason d’Or, Choc du Monde de la Musique, Choc of Year 1996 Jazzman, 2nd best CD 96 for JAZZTHING (Germany), Best CD 96 on radio TRS 2 (CH), “a minor masterpiece” JAZZTIMES (USA).
Le’s recent visit to Vietnam in July 2011 was marked by two sold-out shows at the Rooftop Café in Hanoi. Paul Zetter, jazz reviewer of HanoiGrapevine.com commented, “Watching Nguyen Le play guitar is like being in the presence of a master craftsman at the top of his game where accuracy is everything and legacy is something felt through generation after generation.” Le received standing ovations and applauses from Vietnamese A-list singers and musicians like My Linh, Anh Quan, Duc Tri, and Khanh Ha. Audiences left the shows with satisfaction and an optimistic vision for the future of Vietnamese Jazz.
Nguyen Le has successfully married Western jazz with Vietnamese folk music by blending modern and traditional musicians, tying the knots of violin, keyboard, and saxophone with Vietnamese bamboo xylophone, dan bau, and dan tranh.
“Le is living proof that even if you weren’t born in a particular country you can still make a valuable artistic contribution to its culture and music.” – Paul Zetter