Vibraphonist Chris Dingman set up his vibraphones next to the bedroom where his father was under hospice care from a rare heart ailment, setting an atmosphere of calm and compassion to help soothe, heal, and carry him through his final challenges, released here as a 5-CD set of 5 hours of ethereal sounds through poignant melodies, swirling textures, and undulating pedal tones.
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Label: Inner Arts Initiative
Catalog ID: None
Squidco Product Code: 29582
Format: 5 CDs
Packaging: Box Set - 5 CDs
Recorded in June and July 2018.
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• Show Bio for Chris Dingman
"Chris Dingman is a vibraphonist and composer known for his distinctive approach to the instrument: sonically rich and conceptually expansive, bringing listeners on a journey to a beautiful, transcendent place. He has been profiled by NPR, the New York Times, DRUM magazine and many other publications, and has received fellowships and grants from the Chamber Music America, the Doris Duke Foundation, New Music USA, and the Herbie Hancock Institute (formerly the Thelonious Monk Institute).
Dingman has done significant work with legendary artists Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter as well as next generation visionaries such as Jen Shyu, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Lehman, and many others, performing around the world including India, Vietnam, and extensively in Europe and North America. Hailed by the New York Times as a "dazzling" soloist and a composer with a "fondness for airtight logic and burnished lyricism," the fluidity of his musical approach has earned him praise as "an extremely gifted composer, bandleader, and recording artist." (Jon Weber, NPR).
While growing up in San Jose, California, Dingman began piano and percussion studies at an early age. He went on to attend Wesleyan University, where he received his B.A. with honors in music. While at Wesleyan, he studied intensively with vibraphonist Jay Hoggard, drummer Pheeroan AkLaff, composer/multi-instrumentalist Anthony Braxton, and mridangist David Nelson. During this time, he was heavily involved in the study of many of the world's musical cultures, including South Indian, West African, Korean, Afro-Cuban, and Brazilian music. In the summer of 2000, his studies brought him to Kerala, India to delve further into mridangam and South Indian classical music.
In 2005, Dingman was one of only seven musicians selected by Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, and Terence Blanchard to participate in the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz Performance at the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. At the Institute, he studied with Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, Jerry Bergonzi, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Lewis Nash, Hal Crook, Stefan Harris, John Magnussen, Vince Mendoza, Russell Ferrante, and many others. He received his Master of Music degree from USC and the Monk Institute in 2007.
During his time at the Monk Institute, Dingman had the opportunity to perform extensively with Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter. In November of 2005, they traveled with the Monk Institute ensemble on a U.S. State Department tour of Vietnam. The ensemble gave concerts and master classes in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. In January of 2007, he traveled again with Hancock, Shorter, and the Monk Institute ensemble, this time to Mumbai, Calcutta, New Delhi, and Agra, India, where they performed for capacity crowds and presented clinics at the Ravi Shankar Institute in Delhi and St. John's School in Mumbai.Teaching
In addition to performing, Chris is an active educator, working with students of all ages and levels for the past 15 years. His extensive teaching experience includes presenting master classes at conservatories and schools both nationally and internationally (including Miami-Dade College, Trinity College, Vancouver Jazz Festival, the National Conservatory of Vietnam, Staffeldsgate College in Oslo, Norway, and more), directing a summer music camp for students ages 11-18, leading jazz ensembles at the high school and middle school levels, and teaching group percussion classes for both children and adults."-Chris Dingman Website (https://www.chrisdingman.com/bio/)
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1. Healing Love 08:28
2. Healing Light Pt. I 07:17
3. Healing Light Pt. II 14:17
4. With You 14:06
5. Tides 10:19
6. Sky 11:54
7. Pretty Stuff 05:56
8. Esme 15:51
9. Story 12:52
10. Steps 12:44
11. Here 10:26
12. Special Day 20:34
13. Way 36:52
14. Life Without Pain 25:48
15. Peace 45:24
16. In the Deep Quiet 41:23
sample the album:
"The music of Peace sets an atmosphere of calm and compassion, to help soothe, heal, and carry you through life's challenges. Peace was recorded as it was performed for Chris's father during his time in hospice care. This extended album consists of 5 hours of Chris's original solo vibraphone music. Dingman casts an enveloping atmosphere throughout, creating layers of ethereal sounds - poignant melodies, swirling textures, and undulating pedal tones. It's an immersive listening experience that many have described as transportive, meditative, deeply healing, and transformative."-
"As Joe Dingman lay dying from a rare heart condition at home, his son decided to try and ease his father's acute physical and mental pain.
Chris Dingman brought his vibraphone, some microphones and his laptop, set everything up in the basement directly beneath where his dad was resting, and began to play.
During two consecutive weekends, the vibraphonist recorded more than five hours of improvised solo music, something that ultimately brought peace and healing to Joe in his final days. Honoring his father's request to have what was made for him become something that could help others, Chris Dingman released Peace, a collection of the improvisations, in June.
"I think it was kind of a dream of his to see it happen," the younger Dingman said by phone from his home in Brooklyn.
According to his son, Joe was a warm, people-loving person who coached soccer and fed the homeless. He was a scientist, but loved music-mostly opera-and became an avid jazz fan when his son showed an affinity for it as a teenager. The two listened to records during dinner and together went to see shows, traveling to New York to visit the Village Vanguard and venturing out to Yoshi's in Oakland, near their Bay Area home. Later, as Dingman became a well-known performer, Joe would be there at many of his performances, even flying to different cities around the country for some high-profile gigs.
The last time Dingman's father saw him play was in Washington D.C. during 2018. He'd already received a terminal diagnosis, giving Joe about five years to live. But within a few months, he was in the ICU, fighting for his life. Doctors then predicted that he had just a few more days left. The shock of having his life cut even shorter left Joe buffeted by waves of anger and depression, adding to his physical aliment.
Somehow, Joe survived the next few days and was able to return home, where he was set up for hospice care. He and Carolyn, his wife of 49 years, had by then moved to Pennsylvania, which made it possible for their son to drive down from New York with his instrument in June of that year. Dingman had actually considered doing some community outreach by playing music for hospice patients, not realizing what was ahead for his father.
"I couldn't see him, but I kind of knew where he was at," Dingman remembered about the sound of his vibraphone resonating up the basement stairs, through the open door and into the living room where his dad could hear the music.
The nights were the toughest for his father, who at time had trouble breathing and often would wake in terror from a form of post-traumatic stress brought about by his time in the ICU. It was through those long nights when Dingman did the most playing for his father; the recordings of those moments allowed his father to listen to his son play whenever he needed to-day or night-for the remainder of his life.
The music is beautifully serene and unhurried-a few tracks pushing past 20 minutes, topping out at 45-each piece slowly unfolding and revealing a unique story.
"Because of the slower nature [of the songs]," Dingman explained, "it felt like composing on the spot. It took me some time to really hear in my mind and tap into what was coming up."
It was the first time he had ever played like this, but in a way, it was an extension of a daily ritual he's maintained for years: meditation.
"I didn't consciously do it, but I think it sort of naturally happened-to bring that sort of meditative feeling into the music, to try to help bring that to my dad, to try to bring some peaceful energy for him," Dingman said.
A few weeks after he first heard his son playing in the basement, Joe was able to express how much the music had helped him, that it truly eased the ordeal of dying and started to "open up patterns of thought and being" for him. "He said the music was 'designed' to do that," Dingman recalled his father saying.
The vibraphonist had no such designs in mind, but it's easy to see how one could hear some evidence of a noble purpose.
For that reason, Dingman's father felt it imperative that others receive this very same music therapy and began to give each of the pieces a name. Some of the titles are aspirational: "Life Without Pain" and the two-part "Healing Light." One piece, which he named "Sky," reminded Joe of a game he played as a boy, looking up and trying to discern what the clouds resembled. Together, the father and son decided on the album's name, then Dingman found a friend to design some options for the album cover, and Joe made the final selection. Now that he was helping to create Peace, Joe had found another reason to keep living as long as he could.
Eventually, though, he slipped into unconsciousness, while his family kept playing the recordings he had cherished. Three days later-on July 16, 2018-Joe died, while listening to "Sky."
Dingman hopes his album can now benefit others. He knows that because of COVID-19, many people are living out their final moments alone, afraid, confused, unable to breathe, and need something to bring them peace.
One day, the vibraphonist hopes to play for other people in hospice. But for now, Dingman's found comfort in knowing that what he's recorded still can be heard by people he might not know and cannot see. When he played in the basement for his father, he could not see him either. But he knew he was listening. Perhaps he still is."-Gary Fukushima, Down Beat
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