Friday, November 4th 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
We first heard Chris Dingman as the vibraphonist in drummer Harris Eisenstadt’s group Canada Day, who performed at the Playhouse back in the spring of 2012, when Chris had just been named Rising Star Vibraphonist in the DownBeat critics poll and his debut album, Waking Dreams, had won top honors in what was then the Village Voice (now NPR) Jazz Critics Poll. In the decade it took us to get him back, Chris has racked up a few more laurels—recording and touring with next-gen luminaries like Jen Shyu, Ambrose Akinmusire, and Steve Lehman; winning fellowships and grants from Chamber Music America, New Music USA, and his alma mater the Herbie Hancock Institute (formerly the Thelonious Monk Institute); and being profiled in DownBeat and DRUM magazines. (Those features complement earlier ones by NPR and the New York Times.) He’s still a perennial presence in all the annual jazz polls, and in last year’s prestigious Jazz Journalists Association Awards, he was nominated for Mallet Instrumentalist of the Year.
In different ways, each of Chris’s four albums as a leader explores the sonic possibilities of inflecting jazz with other global musics—including classical Indian and West African—in the context of deep introspection, meditative grooves, and intuitive group rapport. Reviewers unanimously found the title of his sophomore album, The Subliminal and the Sublime, to be an apt description of the record’s contents. Most recently, Chris has applied his expansive approach to the vibes, including his affinity for ambient sounds and for “the space between notes,” to two different projects: a five-hour extended solo album, Peace, comprising music originally improvised for his father during his stay in hospice, and a trio date, Embrace (a DownBeat Editor’s Pick), featuring bassist Linda May Han Oh (Dave Douglas, Pat Metheny, Fabian Almazan) and drummer Tim Keiper (Cyro Baptista, Vieux Farka Touré, David Byrne)—who are replaced on this tour by Richard Giddens and Rodolfo Zuniga, respectively. “Sometimes in order to open up, we need to pare down,” says Chris of the album and the trio format. “In order to make the most of the vast possibilities offered by the world outside, we first have to look deep inside and embrace ourselves.”
In addition to performing and composing, Chris has presented master classes at schools and conservatories around the world, directed jazz ensembles and summer music camps for middle and high schoolers, led group percussion classes for both children and adults, and done community outreach at hospices across the country. He teaches vibraphone, composition, piano, percussion, and improvisation through Inner Arts Initiative, and is a member of the Jazz faculty at New York City’s New School University.