Born: August 21, 1980 Primary Instrument: Vibraphone
Chris Dingman (b. La Jolla, CA, 1980) is a vibraphonist, composer, and percussionist who has worked across a broad spectrum of musical styles and in a wide variety of professional settings. Chris has performed nationally and internationally with many of the world’s top musical artists including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Nnenna Freelon, Marcus Miller, Terence Blanchard, and many others. Now based in Brooklyn, NY, Chris is currently working with many of the leading lights on the scene, both as a sideman, and as a leader with his project Waking Dreams.
Hailed by the New York Times as a dazzling soloist and composer with a fondness for airtight logic and burnished lyricism, Chris Dingman is one of the most sought-after vibraphonists of his generation. Schooled in the jazz tradition, yet influenced by a wide range of music and experience, Dingman draws inspiration and meaning from a diverse set of musical sources, uniting them in a progressive approach that has earned him praise for his poignant work (David Sprague, Variety), his adaptive humility (Nate Chinen, NY Times), and as downright hypnotic (John Barron, All About Jazz). He has performed and studied with many of the world's greatest jazz musicians, including Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Benny Golson, Jimmy Heath, and many others. Now based in Brooklyn, NY, he is currently working with many of the leading lights on the jazz and creative music scene, both as a sideman and as a leader with his project Waking Dreams.
Upon his arrival in New York City in 2007, Dingman began performing with groups led by Ambrose Akinmusire, Steve Lehman, Gerald Clayton, Jen Shyu, Mark Taylor, Anthony Braxton, Mike Moreno, Harris Eisenstadt, Adam Rudolph, Keith Witty, Bryan Copeland, and many others. His playing has been featured on several recent critically acclaimed albums, including Travail, Transformation, and Flow, by Steve Lehman (Pi Recordings); Prelude: to Cora, by Ambrose Akinmusire (Fresh Sound/New Talent); and Canada Day, by Harris Eisenstadt (Clean Feed) among others. He is also featured as a guest soloist on Gabriela Anders's Bossa Beleza (E1 Music/Koch Records). For these achievements, he was named a Rising Star on vibes in the 2009 and 2010 Downbeat Critics Polls, and in two recent years Jazz Journalist Association member Phil DiPietro has acknowledged him for top ten sideman performances of the year.
The fall of 2009 marked Dingman's initial launch of Waking Dreams, his debut as a bandleader and composer. The Waking Dreams suite is a narrative collection of pieces that flow smoothly from movement to movement, detailing a transformation from darkness into light, a coming into consciousness and acceptance that emerges into a state of joy and ultimately concludes in peace and serenity. The project features a host of stellar musicians in quintet instrumentation with vibes, saxophone/trumpet, piano, bass, and drums, alternately including Ambrose Akinmusire, Loren Stillman, Mark Small, Fabian Almazan, Joe Sanders, Aidan Carroll, Justin Brown, Eric McPherson, and Tommy Crane. The project has been recorded and is slated for release in spring of 2011. The band has performed regularly at many of the Northeast's great jazz venues, including The Jazz Gallery, Firehouse 12, Zinc Bar, St. Peter's Church, and Cornelia Street Cafe.
Dingman's activity as a sideman has also flourished. In November of 2009, he took part in Noah Baerman's composition suite, Know Thyself, funded by the Chamber Music America New Works grant. In December of 2009, he began performing in Jen Shyu's Raging Waters, Red Sands, commissioned by the Jazz Gallery and made possible in part by the Jerome Foundation. In 2010, he recorded with Anthony Braxton (performing the mallet percussion for his opera, Trillium E), Adam Rudolph's Organic Orchestra, Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day, and bassist Bryan Copeland's group, Bryan and the Aardvarks. Dingman's tour schedule for the year included several European and North American tours with Steve Lehman's Octet and Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day.
In 2011, Dingman has continued to perform nationally and internationally, and has released his debut album, Waking Dreams on Between Worlds Music, to universal critical acclaim. It has been called one of the year's watershed recordings by Steve Smith of Time Out NY, a brilliant debut.. beautifully rendered and thoroughly accessible by Mark Turner of All About Jazz, and very mysterious, very enthralling by Kevin LeGendre on BBC's Jazz on 3.
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.
Awards:Rising Star, Vibes - 2009 Downbeat Critics Poll Rising Star, Vibes - 2010 Downbeat Critics Poll
First and foremost, what you get from this record is this strong, very mysterious, very enthralling atmosphere throughout. - Kevin LeGendre, BBC 3, Jazz on 3
The year is still relatively young, but Chris Dingman has already notched what's certain to be one of its watershed recordings: Waking Dreams, a gorgeous, contemplative sequence of moody original compositions played by an outstanding band. - Steve Smith, Time Out New York
Vibraphonist Chris Dingman delivers a sure-footed and deeply lyrical debut, a showcase both for his luminous compositions and for his rapport with a network of peers - Nate Chinen, The New York Times
Beautifully rendered and thoroughly accessible ... a work of art and form. To bring ideas into fruition - let alone ones from dreams - into music that's articulated at this level, is something to admire. - Mark F. Turner, All About Jazz
If you believe that ballads deserve the same taut interplay as uptempo tunes, you're likely down with vibraphonist Dingman, whose new Waking Dreams is a suite of reflections that rebuffs somnambulance with inventive exchange after inventive exchange. - Jim Macnie, Village Voice
Vibraphonist Chris Dingman has become one of jazz's young leading lights. - Michael Hamad, Hartford Advocate
The composition is part ars poetica, a creative manifesto that reveals the musicians personal investment in his craft and the project overall. Waking Dreams is a wonderfully layered and complex piece that resonates most strongly because of its attention to layering and polyrhythmic detail. - Ebony Noelle Golden, Revivalist Music
His own compositional creativity is on full display with Waking Dreams, an exquisite fourteen-movement suite being issued this month. Its harmonies, rhythms and textures reflect [an] abiding interest in non-Western musics. - Paul Blair, Hot House
Chris Dingman has already shown his improvisatory gifts and innate lyricism in Steve Lehman's quintet and octet and Harris Eisenstadt's Canada Day. His debut as a band leader, Waking Dreams, a suite, is a kind of continuous reverie in which densities shift and complexities arise to be ultimately resolved in washes of shimmering metallic overtones. - Stuart Broomer, New York City Jazz Record
Chris Dingman's Waking Dreams is a meticulously crafted album that's equally as strong as the sum of its parts. - Anthony Dean-Harris, Nextbop.com
Dazzling .. with a fondness for airtight logic and burnished lyricism - Nate Chinen, NY Times
Jazz vibist-of-the-moment - Phil DiPietro, All About Jazz
Dingman is downright hypnotic - John Barron, All About Jazz
Dingman gives even the most skeletal constructions the right amount of harmonic flesh. --David Adler, JazzTimes
Canada Day II
Heroes of Make Believe
Bryan and the Aardvarks
Travail, Transformation, and Flow
Steve Lehman Octet
Tracks: Samba de Verao, Satisfaction
Prelude: to Cora
Steve Lehman Quintet
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Willing to teach:
Contact for information about lessons for vibraphone, composition, piano, and percussion. In addition to performing, Chris has been teaching students of all ages and levels for the past 12 years. His extensive teaching experience includes presenting master classes at high schools and conservatories both nationally and internationally, 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. He teaches vibraphone, composition, piano, percussion, and jazz improvisation privately. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about lessons or clinics in the tri-state area.