Is Tran Manh Tuan the only saxophonist in Viet Nam? How he has been recognized as an eminent figure in (Vietnamese) jazz still puzzles me. It has to be that stamp from Berklee because he has not yet sounded convincible as a soloist. In fact, he still plays like a wimp, and his Bong Thoi Gian (The Shadow of Time) is a perfect illustration. His fuzak style of covering Vietnamese ballads is best suited in a root-canal treatment. They are so smooth and so anesthetic that would eventually ease up your pain. That’s actually pretty helpful, isn’t it? I am not saying that his music is totally artless. Comparing to other Vietnamese instrumental albums, especially those produced by Thuy Nga, his jazz-lite approach ain’t so bad. And if you like Kenny G, you might find Tran Manh Tuan enjoyable. Someone has to make some insomniac-worthy music.
(No hurt feelings, my friend. You have a good sportsmanship, and this is no way a personal attack. So don’t take it to the heart, bro. You know I got respect for you despite our differences in musical taste sometimes. One thing we can’t argue for sure is that Dieu’s still the best, and we can’t deny that she knows her Martini jazz. Cheers!)