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Culture Vulture (23-12-2015)

Update: December, 23/2015 - 08:30

After nearly a decade of being quiet, musician Giang Son has launched her second album Bong Toi Jazz (The Shadow of Jazz). The album was orchestrated by artists Thanh Tam in Viet Nam and Vu Quang Trung in the US. With the collaboration of the two successful musicians, The Shadow of Jazz is expected to be a promising album.

Culture Vulture talks with Son about The Shadow of Jazz.

Why is it an album of jazz?

My first album was launched in 2007, comprising different music genres such as R&B, pop ballads, blues-jazz and electronic. At that time, I wanted to introduce myself to the public as a composer who was able to write different genres of music.

This album, I focused on blues-jazz. I selected blues-jazz because I fell in love with it a long time ago. When I was a music student, I listened to many jazz albums. I also found blues-jazz pieces to play and study the way that jazz music is orchestrated.

I have listened to Nina Simone, Kurt Elling, Diana Krall and Norah Jones. Later, I listened to a jazz album by Jazzy Da Lam. The album entitled Trang Va Em (Moon and You) was orchestrated by Nguyen Cong Phuong Nam.

I liked it very much. I remember that I wrote an email to Da Lam expressing my admiration for her.

Since then, I set my mind to producing a jazz album. Four years ago, I completed songwriting and began to record for Bong Toi Jazz album.

Why did it take eight years to launch the second album?

Actually, it should have been launched three years earlier. It did not depend only on me, but also on a team including A-list singers Tung Duong and Ha Tran. The two singers were very busy and we didn't spend much time for the album. I waited six months for Tung Duong to finish recording a song. In The Shadow of Jazz, Duong was a man in love, while Ha Tran was an emotional woman sobbing.

Orchestrating and arranging also took a long time.

I selected different poets who I love to work with, such as traditional artists Nguyen Vinh Tien, Phan Vu, Ha Quang Minh and Y Mai, and emerging artist Truong Que Chi. Their poetry inspired me.

I saw my old days in the poetry Vet Buon Thang Sau (Sadness in June) by Ha Quang Minh. I put the poetry in lyrics with the title Nang Muon (Late Sunshine).

You earned the title Impressive Composer on the television show Bai Hat Viet 2005 for songwriting. What do you hope to achieve when you produce an album?

Launching a new album is very necessary to singers, but it is not important to composers. I think the composer needs only to focus on writing new songs. Many singers want to sing my songs. It's great because my songs have been performed on-stage.

If a composer wants to produce a new album, he/she needs to not only write new songs, but also select a music genre and orchestration style.

The Shadow of Jazz album is a fruitful project that I nurtured over the years. I want the album to make the Vietnamese music scene more colourful.

I think music should be diverse, providing listeners many choices. As a composer, I think I have to be responsible for producing a high-quality music product. — VNS

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