Born: February 7, 1969 Primary Instrument: Bass
CHRIS MINH DOKY
Chris Minh Doky stands out as one of the most talented bass players in contemporary music. The New York-based artist is regarded among the masters of the upright bass widely recognized for his passionate delivery and extraordinary technical gifts. As expressed by Down Beat Magazine: ”...there is a softness and crisp clarity that is very different from the sound others derive from the acoustic instrument”, Doky carries on the distinct Danish bass tradition of the acoustic bass being a lead instrument. With musical roots deriving from his love of American East Coast grooves and the lyric tradition of Scandinavia, Doky has developed a distinctive sound as well as created a style that is uniquely his own.
Doky’s rare ability to perform with equal creativity and dynamism as both a solo artist and as a sideman has put him on the list of Top Ten Bassists in Reader’s Polls and earned him Artist of the Year awards as well as platinum- awarded sales. Parallel to leading his own band, Doky continues to play with some of the most significant jazz artists of today. Being an integral part of the Michael Brecker Quartet since 2001, he is also currently playing and touring with the Mike Stern Band.
Over the years, Doky has released seven solo albums, including the highly praised Cinematique and the most recent electronica-jazz album The Nomad Diaries. Besides co-leading two recordings with his brother he is also appearing on countless recordings as a sideman. And with his great musical sense, Doky is increasingly in demand for soundtracks and as a producer for both jazz and pop artists.
Doky was born into a musical family in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1969 to a Vietnamese father and a Danish mother. Motivated and taught by his father, Doky commenced playing the piano at age six. He won several awards attending local classical piano competitions. By a twist of faith he picked up the electric bass while in high school. A passionate fan of groups like Earth, Wind & Fire, the teenager played in different funk bands. But it was the Miles Davis album ”My Funny Valentine” that introduced him to the jazz tradition at age 16. A year later, he switched to his signature instrument, the acoustic bass. Before long he became a sought-after bassist at jazz clubs around Copenhagen.
After high school, the 18 year old left home for New York City, determined to explore the jazz tradition first hand. Here, he began working in the studios and gigging in the clubs of Manhattan with other young, up and coming musicians such as pianist Joey Calderazzo, whom Doky would later meet again playing with legendary saxophonist Michael Brecker. Soon proving to be not only an excellent sideman but also an inventive soloist, Doky got his first big break in 1991 when Mike Stern asked the talented bass player to join his band. By 1992, Doky was getting firmly established on the international jazz scene and earning a reputation as one of the top bassists in New York. Much in demand, he found himself playing with some of the great musicians he had been listening to growing up, including David Sanborn, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Michele Camilo, Trilok Gurtu, and Bireli Lagrene.
In 1994, Doky joined forces with his older brother, pianist, Niels Lan Doky forming the Doky Brothers. Signed to Blue Note, the group made two successful recordings that brought a larger audience to jazz in their native Denmark. Following the second Doky Brothers album, Chris Minh Doky released Minh on Blue Note in 1998, his first solo album in eight years. It met widespread acclaim from both critics and audiences alike propelling Doky’s international solo career to a new level.
Doky’s work on Minh, was brought to the attention of Danish icon, pop- and rock singer Sanne Salomonsen who asked him to work with her. In 1999, Doky produced her hit album In a New York Minute that reached double platinum sales and earned a Danish Music Award nomination.
Following extensive world wide touring on the success of the album Minh, Doky took his touring band to the studio to record the acoustic jazz-funk album, Listen Up. The album featured special guest appearances by long time collaborators John Scofield, Kenny Garrett and others.
After years of exploring the funk side of jazz, Doky felt it was time to 'come home'. On Cinematique, Doky brought together some of the greatest musicians of his generation in a true jazz trio setting. Doky and his longtime friends created an intimate and original recording exploring Doky’s favorite movie and television themes.
On his most recent CD The Nomad Diaries, Doky shows the result of his long time exploration into Electronica. Inspired by the works of artists like Massive Attack, Bjork, Nils Petter Molvaer, Talvin Singh and Ryuichi Sakamoto (with whom Doky has been playing with for years, and who is also featured on the album) Doky draws on both his production and bass playing skills. A genuine organic meeting of worlds that is arguably Doky's most European album to date, drawing heavily on his Scandinavian bass tradition.
...there is a softness and crisp clarity that is very different from the sound others derive from the acoustic instrument. Down Beat (US)
Excellent playing! Billboard Magazine (US)
He emerges from the background of the piano solos to seize the lead with a bear like hug that is briefly overwhelming before it subsides behind the piano, still trailing vestiges of its rugged power The New York Times (US)
Chris Minh Doky is the frontline of the new horizon in the world of Acoustic Bass FMFAN (Japan)
A powerful bassist...superb technique. Jazz Times (US)
...few bassists combine softness and supple strength so distinctively, or mix dense, swirling runs and the simplicity of an underlying theme in such a shapely and unforced manner The Guardian (UK)
..but especially notable is Chris' lyrical bass and the work of John Scofield Winnipeg Sun (US)
Chris Minh Dokys playing was a young master's class in opposite counter- melodic improvisation The Guardian (UK)
Excellent The Evening Standard (UK)
the only other bassist that in regards to his relationship with his instrument, comes close to that of Niels Henning Orsted Petersens Politiken (Denmark).
..world-class bassist... The Guardian (UK)
A virtuoso Le Monde (France)
**** (4 stars out of 5) The Guardian (UK)
Minh Doky delivered the first of a dazzling succession of unaccompanied solos... The Guardian (UK)
...a mix of virtuosity, funky directness and enthusiasm The Guardian (UK)
..singing tone and perfect technique. The Guardian (UK)
...a commanding presence... The New York Times (US)
... a deep respect for the tradition paired with a very broad contemporary experience Berlingske Tidende (Denmark)
...world class musician... Bass Magazine (France)
Chris Minh Doky is schooling and influences and all, that rare thing: A Natural. He makes music flow, sing. It talks to you. You can't learn that. It's a gift. And with it comes a sound of one's own. Chris' sound is is, and it's a beautiful thing. Rutgers University (US)
Majestic! Berlingske Tidende (Denmark)
A Danish export success Gaffa (Denmark)
...he has a special soft tone that is candy for your ears Politiken (Denmark)
Young Power! Aarhus Stiftidende (Denmark)
Chris Minh Doky is a very elegant musician with a sense for the powerful Politiken (Denmark)
Chris Minh Doky is extremely skilled as a soloist as well as an accompanist Aarhus Stiftidende (Denmark)
Chris Minh Doky is a fine, strong bassist Windsor Star (US)
...he plays solos with instrumental excellence Jyllands Posten (Denmark)
Chris is in a class of his own. He is an extremely skillful bass player Mike Stern.
A great musician who brings his own energy, personality and style to every musical endeavor. Michael Brecker.
His sound is distinct, his conception is unique- he's simply one of the best. Randy Brecker.
Chris Minh Doky is a great bass player . . . great to play with, great to listen to. He can play all the kinds of music that I like to play - and that's hard to find. John Scofield.
One of the most versatile and musical players I know. Minh definitely has the goods! David Sanborn
It's very obvious that Chris Minh Doky is an extraordinary musician. This comes through clearly in both his playing and writing. What also makes Minh so special is his incredible enthusiasm for music and that he always plays his heart out. Mike Stern.
I've had the pleasure of watching Chris Minh Doky develop from a being a very talented teenager to becoming a player, composer, bandleader, recording artist, and producer of the first rank. As a player his sound is istinct, his conception is unique- he's simply one of the best. Randy Brecker.
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