Vũ Hồng Khanh – Tiếng Thu

Tiếng Thu, a solo piano album from Vũ Hồng Khanh, is growing on me. Even though Hồng Khanh rarely improvises, his takes on Pham Duy’s unforgettable ballads are full of rich melodies and strong harmonies. Hồng Khanh’s lyrical playing in “Ngậm Ngùi” and “Thuyền Viễn Xứ” are instantly recognizable. His slow cadences on the left hand combined with the high, dramatic keys on the right makes “Đừng Bỏ Em Một Mình” so damn hauntingly beautiful.

While “Nha Trang Ngày Về” is gorgeously reflective, he should have left off the sound effects, which are a little distracting. And since the tune clocks in over eight minutes, I wish he branches off and improvises more. “Tiếng Đàn Tôi” is the only slightly uptempo piece. The tango rhythm is very sexy, but I keep waiting for him to swing it up a bit. Nevertheless this is a fine album for an intimate listening experience.