By Frank Alkyer | Published March 2022
Given the times we live in, there are moments when we all need a reprieve. That’s exactly what vibraphonist Chris Dingman gives us with journeys vol. 1. This is a recording of Dingman — an exceptional musician known for his work with Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Lehman, Jen Shyu and many others — performing solo. For those familiar with his work, journeys can be thought of as an extension of Dingman’s last recording, Peace, which is five hours of beautifully atmospheric ambiance he created while thinking of his father, who was in hospice. Journeys picks up after his father passed away. Dingman stepped back until urged to perform solo again by Rio Sakairi, director of the Jazz Gallery in New York. He said the experience was transformative. “I lost track of where I was and got really absorbed in the music,” Dingman said. “The experience felt like a real journey.” It’s one where the listener can virtually glide through clouds of shimmering melodies, reverberations, overtones, resonances. Dingman composes in the moment, quietly weaving melodies and rhythms into beautifully mature lullabies. Nothing is hurried, but everything is alive, as on “silently beneath the waves,” where you can feel the artist breathing with every touch of the instrument, every cascade of notes. The entire album, which clocks in at around 50 minutes, has that sense of joyful wonder with just a touch of longing. It’s a great album to readjust your frame of mind and help you to relax and kick back. With these solo masterpieces, Dingman has found his true calling as a shamanistic vibraphonist.