Tran Viet Tan – Biet

Not too long ago, Ha Tran made the following audacious statement: “Nhạc jazz VN tới nay thường là ‘râu ông nọ cắm cằm bà kia’ hoặc đu đưa cho có vẻ jazz một tí.” Now she is contributing a hot-tub, smooth bossa nova number on Tran Viet Tan’s new record, Biet. Despite her contradictory, I find her singing on the Latin-flavored “Vet Chan” way better than the electric shit she has done. She knows how to work the sensual lithe in her flow against the faintly syncopated arrangement. Elsewhere, she gives “Me Ganh Nuoc” a heart-lifting performance with such effortless control. And she pulls it off with just a simple accompaniment of piano and violin.

Beside Ha Tran, Biet features two other vocalists, Thanh Lam and Tung Duong, yet they couldn’t hold up to Ha Tran. Yes, even Thanh Lam too. Unlike Ha Tran, her flow is stilted on the Latin groove of “Dong Song.” She does not have the playfulness to ride the mid-tempo beat. The worse part is that Thanh Lam uses her vibrato all over the place, to the point where I just couldn’t take it anymore. Doctor Tan should have subscribed her some chill pills before she stepped into the booth. Tung Dung also seems to be limiting his range and recycling the same delivery lately. The versatile Tung Dung is hidden in Chay Tron.

As for songwriter/doctor Tran Viet Tan, I don’t know if he is a good doctor or not since I’ve never paid his office a visit. I do know for sure, however, is his passion for music. He knows how to make songs for his patients. Biet is a perfect album to be played in his waiting room. The first track would calm them down. The second track would ease their pain. The third track would anesthetize them until the time their name is called. The doc is in.