TCO Profile: Chris Dingman

Vibraphonist Chris Dingman arrived in New York City in 2007. In a short period of time he has earned praise from peers and press alike – The New York Times calls him a “dazzling” soloist and composer with a “fondness for airtight logic and burnished lyricism.”  Having studied formally at both Wesleyan University and the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz, Chris’ musical education and experiences range far and wide, and that eclecticism is reflected in the community of musicians he collaborates with today.

Chris’ debut album as a leader, “Waking Dreams,” comes out this month.  Here are the dates to remember:

June 18, 2011:  “Waking Dreams” Album Release Party at The Jazz Gallery, New York, NY
June 21, 2011:  “Waking Dreams” officially released on Between Worlds Music

Listen to a sneak preview of “Waking Dreams” here and preorder the album here.

Chris Dingman / photo by Adriana Leopetrone

When did you start playing?
I started playing piano and drums when I was 9 and 12, respectively, then gradually switched over to vibraphone and mallet percussion full-time by the age of 20.

How did improvisation become part of your musical experience?
Drums and percussion are improvisatory by nature, so I began at an early age.  Composition and  improvisation with tones (vibraphone, marimba, piano) began in high school.  Studying with Jay Hoggard and Anthony Braxton at Wesleyan University and collaborating with other students there opened up my mind to entirely new ways to approach music and improvisation.

Which composers/musicians most influence your work?
It’s hard to write only a short list.  I’ve been influenced by a wide variety of experiences with people at particular places and times in my life.  Studies and performances with people like Pheeroan AkLaff, Mr. Braxton, Mr. Hoggard, Terence Blanchard, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter were highly influential.  But working with musicians closer to my age has been just as formative for me – Steve Lehman, Gerald Clayton, Jen Shyu, Ambrose Akinmusire, Noah Baerman and others.  And, of 
course, listening… I couldn’t list everyone who influences me without taking up too much space, but specific influences for my new album also include Woody Shaw, Bobby Hutcherson, Debussy, Toumani Diabate, Radiohead, Bach, Elliott Smith, Steve Reich, Aphex Twin… and so on…

"Waking Dreams" by Chris Dingman

What current projects/ensembles are you involved in?
My project Waking Dreams, Steve Lehman’s Octet, Jen Shyu’s Raging Waters Red Sands, Harris Eisenstadt‘s Canada Day, Sean Moran‘s Small Elephant, Bryan and the Aardvarks, two different collaborative projects with drummer/ngoni player Tim Keiper (band names soon to come), and a few other projects are currently germinating.

What are you currently listening to?
A bunch of albums that friends have put out recently!  Finally getting a chance to catch up, and I am enjoying the music immensely:
Fabian Almazan‘s “Personalities”
Tomas Fujiwara and the Hook Up’s “Actionspeak”
Gerald Clayton’s “Bond”
Ambrose Akinmusire’s “When the Heart Emerges Glistening”
Mark Taylor‘s “At What Age”
Eivind Opsvick‘s “Overseas III” 

How has working with Anthony Braxton shaped your musical experience?
Mr. Braxton creates this feeling that anything is possible, and puts forward a positive and creative energy that is so inspiring and infectious.  I always want to create new music when I’m around him – especially music that knows no bounds of genre or style.

What’s your favorite food?
Chips and salsa!

Visit Chris Dingman on the web:

One response to “TCO Profile: Chris Dingman

  1. Pingback: Chris Dingman Profiled | Avant Music News

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