Among the jazz community, Chris Minh Doky is a veritable authority in upright bass performance. Known for his lead approach with the bass, Doky’s progression as a jazz musician has been a long and winding one. One can trace the evolution of this artist from his humble beginnings in the music scene to the present as an international artist in high demand. Now, as a considerable source of inspiration in his own right, Music Taste presents a snapshot interview with one of the world’s leading talents to give you a better idea what inspired the artist behind the bass and mayhap, a clearer understanding of the man himself.
Music Taste: What was the motivation behind your decision to become a musician, in particular jazz?
Doky: At 18, I realized I had to play music so much that there was no room for anything else. So my original plans to become a doctor got dropped. Jazz, because I fell in love with the sound and feel - especially through the Miles Davis album, My Funny Valentine.
Music Taste: As a jazz musician, do you have any recommendations for listeners who are curious about the genre, but never had the exposure?
Doky: Listen to Miles Davis Kind of Blue, close your eyes and let go of any thoughts.
Music Taste: Has the Vietnamese culture had any influence in your work?
Doky: Yes, I believe so. I think the Vietnamese culture gave me an advantage in terms of diligence in studying and practicing.
Music Taste: What do you think the challenges are for a lead bass man as opposed to the traditional piano or saxophonist in a jazz group?
Doky: You kind of have to invite your own musical setting as it is not so standard to be a lead bassist.
Music Taste: Were there any particularly memorable places you’d stayed when you toured abroad?
Doky: I have toured the world so much in the past 20 years. All places are special in different ways. That’s what makes it still fun to tour.
Music Taste: Which one of your albums was your personal favorite?
Doky: Sorry to sound clich, but I like them all. They each have their own “world”.
Music Taste: If you could perform with one jazz musician who has passed away, who would it be?
Doky: Miles Davis because he’s is still my biggest inspiration. He embodies the essence of jazz being a spirit and not a definable genre.