Saigon gets the big sound

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Vietnam's famous saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan and his Saigon Big Band

Vietnam's famous saxophonist Tran Manh Tuan has announced the formation of his first-ever big band, a 20-strong ensemble appropriately called the Saigon Big Band.

The debut performance is due to begin 8 p.m. at the Ho Chi Minh City Opera House on January 17, Tuan told a press conference in the city on January 3.

With the new band, Vietnamese audiences will get live exposure to the unique sound of a big band playing jazz standards and other popular numbers.

The musicians that make up the Saigon Big Band comprise the city's top jazz exponents of the past three decades along with Vietnamese and foreign prize winners in recent talent awards.

Others of note like jazz vocalist Tuyet Loan, zither artist Hai Phuong and Anh Tan, who excels on the two-string dan kim, say they are eager to perform with Tuan's band after next week's debut performance.

Saigon Big Band's premiere show will feature jazz and jazzed-up classical pieces in a blend of Eastern and Western improvisational styles.

The first half, called Jazz Flirtation with Tradition, will showcase Tran Manh Tuan on saxophone and several traditional musicians playing the zither, dan kim and the highland instrument known as the T'rung.

After intermission, Saigon Big Band will perform jazz standards known all over the world. Tickets costing from VND200,000 to VND1 million are available at the Opera House, 7 Lam Son Square, Ben Nghe Ward, District 1. For booking, call Mr. Long at 0903 431 000.

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