Chris Dingman Trio: Embrace
How can we heal unacknowledged wounds within of ourselves? How can we find creative ways to work with challenges and find new directions? The Embrace project explores these quandaries and more in an upcoming recording for vibraphone, bass, and drums.
This trio, featuring Linda Oh on bass, Tim Keiper on drums, and myself, Chris Dingman on vibraphone, was formed out of the desire to find a new musical context that expands the range of expression that comprises my musical voice as an improviser and composer, specifically as a vibraphonist. I wanted the group to feel full and vibrant, yet the limitations of the vibraphone itself create a challenge in this pared-down format. I began working on ways to play two parts at the same time and other approaches to fill out the sound of the group, as part of my composition process. During this journey, unforeseen life changes and special influences guided my way.
This music documents an ongoing period of transition through which I am learning to embrace difficult situations, emotions, and even unacknowledged parts of myself. Pieces such as “Find a Way” deal with negative external life circumstances, and the possibilities that are created when challenges are embraced, change and adaptation welcomed. Similarly, the creation of “Inner Child” was a healing process: the embrace of hurt parts of myself that I had previously ignored.
As these experiences unfolded, I found myself connecting more with other people, and feeling more open-minded. As part of this, I realized that I had compartmentalized my musical life. Over the course of the previous ten years, the Mande, Wassoulou, and desert music from Mali had become some of my absolute favorite. But I hadn’t attempted to learn any of it or explore what that could mean for my own composition and playing. As I embraced these possibilities, there was a surge of new material. “Forgive/Embrace” is based on a kora-inspired vibraphone line that came from studies of Toumani Diabate’s multi-threaded solo music; “Goddess” and “Folly of Progress” are inspired by Oumou Sangare’s strong voice, music, and social activism; “Ali” is dedicated to Ali Farka Toure and his hypnotic grooves.
By embracing the inspiration that these artists have given me, I feel more connected with them and their respective traditions. With these pieces I have written, I pay humble tribute to them, and to their forebears and broader traditions, of which I feel so fortunate to have heard a small part.
The Embrace recording project is being co-produced by Keith Witty (Thiefs, Somi). Upon the release, I plan to build on the success of my previous two albums and follow up on successful performances as a side musician, to expand my listener base by touring this group in North America and Europe – something my previous groups were too large to do with. Along with traditional venues and schools, I am also currently expanding my work into partnerships with nursing homes and senior centers.
Start and End Dates
01/02/2019 — 03/03/2020
New York City, New York