Chris Dingman: Journeys

NYC-based vibraphonist and composer Chris Dingman is known for his distinctive approach to the instrument: sonically rich and expansive. In his captivating solo performances, he casts an enveloping atmosphere, creating layers of simultaneous sound – soaring melodies, swirling textures, and undulating pedal tones. It’s an immersive listening experience that many have described as transportive and deeply healing.

In his solo work, Chris is exploring the intersections of meditation, trance, and healing, through music improvisation. Chris has performed with legendary artists Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, and many of today’s jazz, creative, and world music luminaries. He brings together this background with a host of influences from around the world, including his studies of the mbira music of Zimbabwe, in service of taking listeners on a journey to a transcendent place.

Working in NYC since 2002, Chris documented his solo improvisations privately for many years, until his world changed. In his father’s final months of life in 2018, he created the 5-hour extended album Peace, recorded as he played it for his father, and ultimately released in 2020.  This led to an ongoing evolution of his solo music and his critically acclaimed albums journeys vol. 1 and vol. 2 , each born from an audience-supported recording series.

Chris is actively touring, playing for audiences around the world, both in person and online. Recent events include Omega Institute (Rhinebeck), The Rubin Museum of Art (NYC), Timucua Arts (Orlando), The Alembic (Berkeley, CA), Tibet House (NYC), One Longfellow Square (Portland, ME), Constellation (Chicago), Redwood Jazz Alliance (Eureka), Lawrence University (Appleton), and many others including a 10-date solo tour of the US supported by a grant from South Arts.

In addition, Chris was commissioned to conceive and lead the twice-monthly series Transformations in partnership with Connect.faith, finding creative new ways to engage audiences and hold space for healing through music. In these meditative and creative sessions on Zoom, Chris invites participants to set intentions, and to share issues and hardships they’re facing, and he channels this into the music. This exchange has proven to be very meaningful, leading participants to describe the experience as “immediately energizing and healing on a physical, emotional and spiritual level.”

Photo by Filip Wolak, from a recent Psychedelic Sangha Bardo Bath at The Rubin Museum of Art in NYC

Since 2022, Chris has become a close collaborator with the NYC-based Psychedelic Sangha. In the group’s “Bardo Bath” events, co-founder Doc Kelley leads a Tibetan-inspired death meditation into and out of Chris’s 60+ minute channeled soundscape, accompanied by art films by Yosuh Jones, Aubrey Nehring, and others. With anywhere from 30 to 150 people, all lying down or in meditative postures, these events are held at venues such as Tibet House (NYC), The Alembic (Berkeley), Sparrow Funeral Home (Brooklyn), Weylin (Brooklyn), and many others. The Sangha now calls Chris its “sonic shaman,” coming out of the moving and spiritual nature of these events.

Chris has performed around the world including in India, Vietnam, and extensively in Europe and North America. He has been profiled by NPR,  the New York Times, Downbeat, DRUM magazine and many other publications, and has received fellowships and grants from Chamber Music America, New Music USA, South Arts, and the Thelonious Monk Institute. Hailed by the New York Times as a  “dazzling” soloist and a composer with a “fondness for airtight logic and burnished lyricism,” the fluidity of his musical approach has earned him praise as “an extremely gifted composer, bandleader, and recording artist.” (Jon Weber, NPR).