Jazz in Socialist Hà Nội
Improvisations between Worlds
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Jazz in Socialist Hà Nội: Improvisations between Worlds examines the germination and growth of jazz under communist rule—perceived as the "music of the enemy" and "ideologically decadent"—in the Vietnamese capital of Hà Nội. After disappearing from the scene in 1954 following the end of the First Indochina War, jazz reemerged in the public sphere decades later at the end of the Cold War. Since then, Hà Nội has established itself as a vital and vibrant jazz center, complete with a full jazz program in the national conservatoire. Featuring interviews with principal players involved in cultivating the scene from past to present, this book presents the sociocultural encounters between musicians and the larger powers enmeshed in the broader political economy, detailing jazz’s journey to garner respect comparable to classical music as an art form possessing high artistic value. Ethnographical sketches explore how Vietnamese musicians learn and play jazz while sustaining and nurturing the scene, providing insight as to how jazz managed to grow in such an environment. Jazz in Socialist Hà Nội sheds light on those underlying caveats that allow Vietnamese jazz musicians to navigate the middle grounds between "worlds"—between music and politics—not as an act of resistance, but as realization of artistic expression.
Table of Contents
1. Between Worlds / 2. A Nascent Discography / 3. Live Jazz / 4. Jazz at the Conservatoire / 5. Music, War and Revolution / 6. Becoming a Professional Musician / 7. Vietnam, the Socialist Bloc and Jazz / 8. Hà Nội’s Jazz Scene / 9. Coda
Stan BH Tan-Tangbau has taught at RMIT University Vietnam, Ritsumeikan University, and the National University of Singapore.
Lưu Quang Minh is former Deputy Director and architect of the jazz program at the Vietnam National Academy of Music (VNAM).
Quyền Thiện Đắc is the proprietor of Minh’s Jazz Club in Hà Nội and a lecturer in the Faculty of Jazz at the Vietnam National Academy of Music (VNAM).