Chris Minh Doky’s deft creativity moved his bass playing from a role as the rhythmic ballast of a piece, right to the forefront by enticing solo melodies from his instrument. The journey of his musical career began in the realm of jazz with his matchless sound as the vehicle taking, him to new musical territories as a solo artist. Electric or acoustic, his accomplishments have spanned genres and broadened personal musical contexts so the solo voice of his instrument delivers an individual, natural feel in expression and impression.
Doky’s first performed as a young musician in Denmark, but – still in his teens - moved to New York where famed jazz guitarist Mike Stern heard what he could do and wanted that sound in his band. The word spread quickly. Along with Stern, Doky has stood beside names such as Brecker, Scofield, Mendoza, Sakamoto, Sanborn, Gurtu, Camilo and many, many more, each with a different style and approach to a particular facet of jazz.
Doky remains a strong player on the international jazz stage, but years ago his unique solo performances captured the ears and hearts of the pop world. He bolstered his career and earned a rock star aura by appearing in arenas with stars of the pop world. In what might seem a paradox, Doky also captured ears and hearts in the classical universe and has performed in opera houses, with symphony orchestras, ballet companies and opera singers.
Work on the classical side is expressed in the classical tradition seasoned with improvisation; call it, with the spirit of jazz. His voice in the idiom has been compared to the role of a solo cellist, but with the full- body sound of the acoustic bass as the soloist that broadens the dimensions of an ensemble.
The classical vein is one of the three main outlets for Doky’s creativity. In his New Nordic Jazz project, he gently explores the enigma of a compelling Scandinavian storytelling tradition. Concurrent with that, he fronts The Electric Nomads in what appears to be a 180-degree contrast, as the The Electric Nomads give us their rendering of unbridled, funky jazz with a rock edge.
Common for all three is how Doky expresses himself with the bass as the solo instrument with a direct link to the Danish bass tradition. By bringing his heart and soul into each new challenge, Doky has emerged as the bass soloist of note.
And someone did take note: Queen Margrethe II of Denmark knighted Doky in 2010 for his contributions to the arts, making him a distinguished member of the Royal Order of the Dannebrog.
The secret – along with hard work – is his passion for making an emotional and physical experience of the melody he plays. Doky embraces the traditional acoustic bass, cradles the electric and coaxes novel sound from the electric upright he helped Yamaha develop.
The allure of Chris Minh Doky is not simply the sound, but the stories he tells us through melody.