By Ammar Kalia | Published May 2022
For listeners and players alike, engaging in music can often be a healing experience. Such was the case for vibraphonist Chris Dingman when it came to the motivation behind his 2020 album Peace. Recorded while his father was in hospice care, the resulting solo improvisations documented the tumultuous realities of illness and eventual bereavement, transmuted through the salve of his instrument’s sound.
Having lived through a global pandemic since that recording, Dingman now returns with another restorative collection of solo compositions, Journeys Vol. 1, which are perfectly placed as a meditative accompaniment to our own recent history.
The 15-minute opening number, “Silently Beneath The Waves,” undulates between passages of dynamic intensity and yearning softness, much like the breaking of the titular waves on a shore. This sense of constant movement provides an emotive counterpoint; as if Dingman is expressing the battle between baptism and disintegration in the water. A dreamlike airiness meanwhile accompanies Dingman’s reverb on “Light Your Way,” along with its sampled reprise “Refracted Light,” providing momentary peace.
A highlight of the record comes on the journeying “Hope-Rebirth,” where Dingman’s playing is full of tripping lightness, slowly building in harmonic intensity to create overlapping layers of optimistic intent. Through the minimalism of his solo playing on Journeys Vol. 1, Dingman creates space for our own thoughts to sit among his well-placed melodies.
Journeys Vol. 1: Silently Beneath The Waves; Light Your Way; Hope-Rebirth; The Long Road; Refracted Light. (48:41)
Personnel: Chris Dingman, vibraphone.
Ordering Info: chrisdingman.com