Embrace (feat. Linda May Han Oh and Tim Keiper)
Known for his work in Steve Lehman’s innovative ensembles, and for his own fine sextet recordings Waking Dreams and The Subliminal and the Sublime, vibraphonist Chris Dingman features himself in a sparse trio setting for the first time on Embrace. The crisp textural clarity and intimacy he achieves with his partners (bassist Linda May Han Oh, drummer Tim Keiper) is evident right away on “Inner Child” and on calmer pieces like “Steps on the Path,” “Ali,” and “Forgive / Embrace” (the latter two inspired, respectively, by the Malian legends Ali Farka Touré and Toumani Diabaté). But the trio sails into stormier rhythmic waters on “Find a Way” and the Oumou Sangaré-inspired “Goddess” and “Folly of Progress.” There’s an undercurrent of mourning: The loss of Dingman’s father, and of vibraphone giant Bobby Hutcherson, stamps this session with a sober and reflective quality, even as Dingman takes one of his boldest, most confident steps as an artist.