Vet Blues Tram

Trinh Cong Son’s “Vet Lan Tram” gets a blues-inflected makeover by his own sister, Trinh Vinh Trinh. The savory arrangement—crisp drums, intoxicating piano licks, exhilarating electric guitar strumming, and a strident sax solo—blends in with her soulful delivery like oil and vinegar.

In an interview with VnExpress.net, Quoc Trung criticized Vietnamese musicians for taking pop tunes and turning them into jazz. He argued that one has to write exclusively for jazz to produce its true form, and he had not found any Vietnamese musicians who have done that. Although I don’t disagree with him that songwriters should focus on jazz if they want to create original compositions, I don’t find anything wrong with taking a popular piece and arranging it with jazz’s syncopation, like Trinh Vinh Trinh’s version of “Vet Lan Tram.” If we look back at jazz history, many musicians had taken the structure of popular songs, such as George Gershwin’s “I Got Rhythm” and Tony Bennett’s “Tea For Two,” and jazzed them up. That was how the 32-bar AABA was common in the early jazz.

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