All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Serving jazz worldwide since 1995
All About Jazz: The web's most comprehensive jazz resource

Interviews

Cuong Vu: More Power in a Collective

By Published: September 5, 2005

A lot of times when were playing free, I just want the phrases to happen and our collective mind will determine the points where 'one' is.

No one sounds like Cuong Vu.

Other musicians play trumpet in an effects-laden, rock-inflected environment, but a Cuong Vu album is immediately recognizable. Vu's music couples his trademark airy, bucolic melodies with a deep, churning density of sound and plenty of free improvisation. I spoke with Vu about his fantastic new CD It's Mostly Residual—his first in four years and, to these ears, his best album—as well as about his working trio of longstanding bassist Stomu Takeishi and new drummer Ted Poor, working with Bill Frisell, his experience as a member of the Pat Metheny Group, "bookmarks" and "keys," and a lot more.

All About Jazz: I want to talk about the new album, It's Mostly Residual. First, let's talk business, not music. This CD is available through ArtistShare; you're bypassing the traditional record company route. What led to your selling your album this way?

Cuong Vu: Well, the main thing is that I couldn't get any record companies that I was interested in working with to be interested in working with me! [laughing] Basically, the ones that really get the CDs out there—I could only think of a few, like ECM, Winter & Winter, Blue Note, Verve—they weren't interested. I don't have a connection in there, and I sent my material out and I didn't get a response. I didn't want to go with a really small indie label; they would just struggle to get the stuff out there. And I figured if they're going to do a not very good job getting it out there, I could do a not very good job getting it out there [laughing].

AAJ: You could probably do a better job than some of them.

CV: I think I have been, and since I've been contacting writers, people are pretty responsive and I'm actually surprised. But this is an experiment for me. I'm letting the ArtistShare thing handle the States and Canada and then for Europe and Asia, I'm trying to get it licensed.

AAJ: This is your first album with Ted Poor on drums; your bassist Stomu Takeishi is on all your CDs. And Ted and Stomu are your working band—not just players recruited for this one recording. Tell me what you like about working with them.

CV: Well, with Stomu, I can't really imagine not having him in the band because from the first time we played together, I could see that we had a shared way of thinking about how to improvise. And you know, a lot of people share a similar way of thinking that we do, but then it also comes down to chemistry and just compatibility. It's almost like we read each other's minds. I don't really have to explain that much to him and I know that he's going to take care of certain things that I need to have taken care of while still being completely free to add his own thing on it. It's kind of a hard thing to explain—it's like he can do pretty much do anything he wants and it'll sound right to me. And with Ted, I've been looking for this drummer for a long time, and finally he came—through Ted. And Ted is pretty much the same way [as Stomu], and I think the three of us can play that way together: where we really have a lot of trust in each other and a lot of respect for each other musically so we can really compose together when we're improvising. It seems to work really well.

AAJ: I would have a hard time imagining your music without Stomu, because besides your trumpet, that's what your records sound like—that deep bottom end he provides. That's a trademark of your sound.

CV: Yeah! My whole approach is really just kind of that I know I'm really dependent upon other people to make me sound good. I'm a better improviser when I have other people to improvise off of and go off of. If I play solo, I don't think that I have that much to offer. But just being an empathetic and complimentary player—it's almost like I'm playing the wrong instrument because I'm almost better at comping and finding the right things to play within the context of what other people are doing. And Stomu's kind of the same way. Neither of us is very good at leading—we have little points in the music where we take turns leading, and then we help each other go, and continue, and develop. But if I had to lead the whole time, I'd probably crash a lot.

AAJ: Fortunately, your music is textural and tends to be a blend of things happening together. It's not like the other two just play rhythm section for you to play standard solos over.

CV: Yeah. I haven't been into playing that way in a long time. I just feel that I can make a lot better music this way. In general, when people work together they can come up with something where the sum is a lot better than the individual parts.

AAJ: The most obvious difference on It's Mostly Residual from the last two albums of yours is the presence of Bill Frisell on guitar. I know you must have thought a great deal about adding a guitarist to your music—or at least adding Bill—before you made this decision to include him on this record. What led up to this?

CV: On the first couple of records, even, I'd been going into this direction of guitar sound and a kind of rock. And just inherent in the kind of rock music that I like is a lot of guitar and distortion; I've just always been a guitar fan. But then, just the fact that it took me so long to find Stomu—and now that I've been working with Stomu for, I don't know, like seven years, I can't imagine not working with him, because I need him. And now that I've found Ted, it's the same thing. It took so long to find the right players for me. And I kept an ear out, and an eye out, for a guitarist that could do it, too, and I just haven't found one. But because I've grown up listening to Frisell, that was kind of obvious—he was also a big influence on me. I didn't really set out looking for him to be in the band. We met accidentally, and we kept in touch, and hung out—and when I played in Seattle with my band, he happened to be in town so I asked him if he would just sit in. He did, and it was a really good chemistry. So when it came time to do the record, I actually didn't want to ask him at first because I didn't know him that well and I couldn't really pay that much. And I knew that he's one of those guys that commands a lot of money. I knew that he would do it, but I didn't want to take advantage of him that way. But then eventually, there was nobody else that I felt comfortable doing it with, so I just sucked it up and called him. And he was totally into it—so it was kind of a lucky thing.

AAJ: How much did you play with Frisell before the recording sessions?

CV: When we did the gig in Seattle, we rehearsed for a couple days for about four hours each day. And then before the record, we rehearsed for about five hours.

AAJ: I love Frisell's playing on the CD. It's actually quite a bit noisier than he's played in a while. "Expressions of a Neurotic Impulse" is Bill at his skronkiest since something as far back as John Zorn's Naked City band.

CV: Yeah, and it was really cool to have that happen. I was hoping that he would go there, but I wasn't sure what was going to come out when we actually were in the studio, and just to hear that again was a really great thing! Because, like what you're saying, I really haven't heard him do that in a long time. He's exploring a whole different area now. I kind of miss that kind of thing from him, and it was really cool to have that kind of contribution in this music.

AAJ: Had your trio played this new material much before recording the album?

CV: Yeah, we did. I heard guitar, but I basically wrote the material in a way where we could cover it as a trio, because at this level, at this point in my career, I still can't really afford to go out with a fourth person. We have to be economically sound, and so we have to go out as a trio. And we're able to cover it and it doesn't sound empty, and it sounds pretty good as a trio—it's a totally different thing. So we did a couple of tours as a trio doing this music, and then we did one tour with [guitarist] Mark Ducret and then the recording with Bill. And then actually, we did a gig in New York—the first gig after we recorded the CD, and it was really hard to do because we'd been listening to the CD a lot [laughing]. And suddenly, all this sound wasn't there anymore and it was really hard to compensate. But I think it's just a matter of time—maybe a couple more gigs before we can do it as a trio again. And it'll probably just take a little time to go from being a trio to being a quartet; it can work both ways.

AAJ: I really like the mix on the album. Laurent Brondel mixed it, and co- produced the record with you. This is very dense music, and if it hadn't been mixed just right, it would be incomprehensible. But everything is audible and distinct.

CV: Yeah. He worked on my other two CDs for the Knit [Pure, 2000, and Come Play With Me, 2001, Knitting Factory Records]. He's from Paris and he used to do a lot of electronic music, especially in the Detroit techno scene. He just happens to have really good ears and knows the programs—he's an intellectual who's really good at math and all that kind of stuff. But he has really good ears and strong opinions about how music should sound. I actually mixed this on the road—basically, I just gave it to him and said, "do your thing and send me the MP3s and I'll listen to it and I'll tell you what I think." So basically, he did it all by himself. He's really good at finding those spaces to put the sounds so it doesn't interfere; it sounds like layers but they all have their compartments in the aural spectrum.

AAJ: There's a lot going on on this record. The instruments, Bill's loops, your own electronic effects. But this is pretty much live, isn't it? There's not much overdubbing—this is how it would sound in concert? Everything is happening in real time?

CV: There's no overdubbing in the way that you're asking, I think. We didn't overdub any loops or any extra parts. I overdubbed bad notes. I cakked a bunch of bad notes, and it just sounded so bad I had to go back and fix them. But aside from doing that kind of thing, there aren't any overdubs.

AAJ: Let's talk about the title cut to the album, "It's Mostly Residual," which is a great beginning to the CD. Like a lot of your songs, it takes its time getting to its theme—it starts with a couple minutes of everyone sort of coalescing, joining in before you and Bill play that melody. Then the tune desconstructs, gets more abstract. There's a real contrast between formal, melodic parts and less structured sound. Can you tell me something about this tune—how it was composed?

CV: The tune—I'm trying to figure exactly out what your question is. I think there's a question within the question. The way I composed the tune was basically the way I compose everything: just sitting down and waiting. I spend a lot of time waiting for something to come. The thing is, if I just start writing down things and working on them, and developing them—in the end, when I play them back, I don't like how it sounds. It sounds like an educational tool, or something. It sounds very school, very college, whatever. And so when I sit there and something comes to me that I really feel attracted to, that's when I write it down and start developing it.

With this one, however, I didn't have to develop anything. I just sat and started hearing, and then whatever I heard, I wrote down. I would play it over and over again, to get it soaked into my subconscious, and then later I'd hear another part. So that tune basically took two weeks to hear and have it come together. And then in terms of how I wanted to approach the improv, that's kind of my formula of wanting to be able to have open spaces and having the material be bookends that help us get into the freedom and also help us get out of the freedom. I really love free improvising and experimenting; it's really exciting. But I also hate the fact that if I don't have these bookends, we can go for a half-hour of just experimenting and not have anything—maybe thirty seconds of really good stuff. That's what I really hate about improvised music, and so in all of my writing I try to come up with something that I as a listener, as a fan of music, want to hear. Something I can listen to over and over again. But then it has the opportunity for us to go explore—and then the listener will go with you, because you're giving them something that they want to hear.

AAJ: They've got those Cuong Vu melodies bookending the free material.

CV: Yeah. And even within some of the improvs I have some melodic material—whether it's bass line or background or something like that—that has something to do with the piece, to kind of help anchor it and help move it along without it getting too unintelligible.

AAJ: It's like you're a scientist, the way you present a melody and then, in the improv parts, take it apart. You do this on "It's Mostly Residual" or "Dreams Come Play With Me" from the Come Play With Me CD. Like a mechanic taking an engine apart and then putting it back together, although that's not very artistic-sounding.

CV: No, no, that sounds good; that's another way of saying it. It's also maybe being disciplined and then completely letting go. Like when you first meet somebody, you want to present yourself in a very positive light—and then maybe after you know them and you go out and have drinks and get drunk, then you let yourself say whatever the hell you want.

AAJ: I am obsessed with "Patchwork," the longest track on the CD. Its opening melody is about as jazzy as this album gets, but the tune goes through several different parts. I love how the parts morph into other sections; I know there's lots of improvisation and I think I can hear the players cueing each other to suggest the changes—like during your soloing towards the end, I hear Frisell play that four-note phrase [attempting to sing it] and you hear him and go into that. Then at the very end, during a bunch of loops and density, Stomu's playing a quiet, soloish part, at the end of which he reintroduces the central theme—again, you hear him and make the transition, go into that theme. Am I imagining this?

CV: No, that's key. That's a huge key to what we do. Maybe this is not a bookend; maybe this is a key to unlock the door. So they do their thing, or I'm doing my thing, and then I decide, okay, for my solo I just want to be able to go. And I say, "well, Bill, maybe Stomu and Ted will cue you by going into the groove again and it'll be really obvious and when they're in the groove, you play that aural cue, that little motif, and you'll open the door for me to come back in." I pretty much try to have these little keys lined up in places where I think we can get trapped, and then whoever is assigned to be the person to decide when things are getting dull and we need to move on—they'll take the key and open the door.

AAJ: I love stuff like that, actually. There's something exciting about hearing that on a recording, because you can't hear people playing in real time more than that—you can hear music happening.

CV: Yeah! And that's the thing: with the music and the way I work, I really depend on the sideguys and their tendencies and what they think is right—their pacing, what they think is good. Because if I call all the shots, a lot of times I'm not going to make the best decisions. Like I said, there's more power in a collective.

AAJ: I love Ted's drumming under Bill's solo part on "Patchwork." Adamant, crisp, with a definite dub feel. And Stomu's bass is heavier than metal on this tune.

CV: In the studio, while we were recording that, actually, at that point in the song— I was like, "damn! This is kind of like the Bill Frisell Trio. What am I doing here?" [laughter]

AAJ: It takes some nerve to invite that guy in. Let's talk about "Brittle, Like Twigs." It starts with a short groove, then has a boppish, nervous theme. I have a hard time counting the time there.

CV: Well, when I wrote that, I wasn't really thinking about meter. I was thinking of—well, you know that other tune on the CD, "Chitter Chatter"? [singing its theme] A lot of the material for the whole record is based on that. And that's in five, so I was basically just trying to work with that material in free time, kind of letting the gravity of the rhythms lead me to wherever it wanted to go. And then I went back and barred it where it made sense, and most of it came out in six, with maybe a bar of seven here and there. But the pattern is very five, which is the same as "Chitter Chatter." So the melody is kind of in five laid over six. But the bass line also comes from "Chitter Chatter" and it's basically three. So I'm playing with three and five.

AAJ: So "Brittle, Like Twigs" is a sort of brother to "Chitter Chatter."

CV: Yeah. All the songs [on the CD] are connected, some way or another. I tried to make it that way so it would be a sound. A record has a reason; every tune fits together, instead of just a collection of tunes.

AAJ: During the improv parts on "Brittle, Like Twigs,"—not to obsess on time, but the time gets very free, then during your solo, it seems to sort of reform itself—there's a contrast between formal time and timelessness.

CV: Do you mean sometimes you feel the time is clear and other times it's more abstract?

AAJ: Yes.

CV: Yeah, well, basically—it's pretty much in four. Even though I told them I didn't really want to feel any specific meter. A lot of times when we're playing free, I just want the phrases to happen and our collective mind will determine the points where "one" is. And you can go back, and calculate, and measure, and then find out the time signature, but that defeats the purpose—which is for us to improvise freely and find those pivot points where the time sounds strong, comes together, then changes and goes somewhere else. So I always want to start off free and then, eventually, when we lead into the material, then it starts to be more of a meter. In that one, Stomu has the bass figure, and that's kind of another aural cue that helps ground the music and also helps us get out of any pigeonholes of improv wank.

AAJ: Speaking of "Chitter Chatter"—I notice how, in the improv parts, everyone's really busy—except you. Everyone's hyperactive: the drums are all over, Stomu's working the bottom, Bill's playing lots of notes—but you're playing long, long, single-note lines. It's striking. Do you think about doing something like this is or is it just how it happens?

CV: This is another one of those questions that gave me another question— which is, a lot of times when I improvise, I hear longer melodies over denseness. If the situation is really dense, I tend to play longer phrases. I always try to play the opposites, try to add a different kind of counterpoint to it. So, sometimes I think that way writing too; on the first part of that song, I really heard this long, melodic line—that I wanted to use not just as a melodic line, but as a melody used as a background to Bill and Ted improvising together. And then Stomu was kind of like the free agent, going in between being with them and then also accompanying me on the melody.

AAJ: I like the way that song ends. After you play a solo, you and Bill go into this composed tag that's very baroque, almost Bach-y, and the group snaps into it very effortlessly.

CV: It's funny how that came out. When I wrote it, that part is really what the song is all about. That whole first part I came up with later. But when I was writing that part, I was like, "okay, I want to write something that really uses a lot of counterpoint, and has three voices where each voice can stand on its own and be a melody. And I don't want to use any repeats because that's been done." And [laughing] that turned out to be only like a minute and thirty seconds' worth of material! But it took me so long to write! That thing took so long; it was so labor-intensive. Like, if you go back and you take each line, each instrument, and you added everything else, that equals probably about three or four minutes of material. And if you apply the normal way of stretching out a song, that is enough material to last fifteen or twenty minutes.

But because I wanted no repeats, and I wanted all [those other conditions], it turned out to be a minute and thirty seconds. It was kind of a drag at first, and I was sure it wasn't going to make sense—but then I came up with the first part of the song, which is really long—I stretched out that material. It was kind of the opposite spectrum, because there I took a very small amount of material and stretched it out, made it five minutes worth of stuff. Then, when the density of the second part came in, it became a really effective answer to the first part. And that's a total accident. I mean, I kind of heard it, but I didn't know it would work until we actually did it. But at first, I thought people were going to laugh: only a minute and a half of material!

AAJ: "Blur" is the album's closing track, and in some ways, it sounds the most like the stuff from your two previous albums. Maybe not that different from "Again and Again and Again" from Come Play With Me—it's got one of your trademark dreamlike melodies over a slow, spacious drum pattern. If this one's more like your last two albums, then a lot of this new album is somewhat different from those two CDs. Do you think the music on It's Mostly Residual differs significantly from the last two? And if so, how?

CV: Well, I think that I tried to have this record be a bridge between what we did before and to hopefully give an impression that we're going into some new territory. And the new territory is basically playing over more structured forms that are prewritten, and trying to keep that form. And also, playing over harmonic structure. Before, it was completely free. And now I want us to be able to be completely free—over form that's very rigid. And I think there are a lot more chords on this record. There's just more structure in terms of things that I came up and we have to deal with instead of playing completely free. What I found was, when we would tour, after about the fifth gig, we starting really running out of ideas because we were playing two or three sets of free music for the whole tour. And so this new material has a lot of both, where we're playing free but there's also structure that we have to deal with—which really helps you conserve your thoughts and ideas and energy. You don't have to work quite as hard.

AAJ: Did you find, when you were running out of ideas playing free on the road, that you were just repeating yourselves? Playing the same things?

CV: Yeah. And playing free, you're going to repeat yourself. You're going to end up using the same vocabulary, the same things you know that have worked in the past. Whether you want to or not, that's just how it's going to be. You can change it a certain amount each night to make it interesting and still fresh for you. But then after a while—it got to a point where we were like, "this is just too hard. I can't think of anything else to do." And if you really, really repeat yourself to the point where it's almost like playing the same changes over and over, the same solo—then it gets to be really dead and not fun anymore.

AAJ: I know you're not completely in love with your previous two Knitting Factory albums. You own the masters to them, though, and you've compiled the best songs onto one compilation CD, This This and That, which is also available through ArtistShare.

CV: Yeah, well, basically I just took the best tracks. Come Play With Me is the second record, which is a lot better than the first one, and there was really only one song where I didn't think we did a really good job on. So the compilation has every song but that song. And it has two or three from the first record [Pure] that I thought were the best ones from that record.

AAJ: Yes, it has most of Come Play With Me bookended with "Faith" and "I Shall Never Come Back" from Pure. And the compilation works really well as an album.

CV: I think the main reason that I didn't think either record was really good was that we just didn't have enough time and resources. The cuts that I left off—if we had maybe one to three more attempts at them, they could have been really good. But we just didn't have that.

AAJ: Can you tell me something about your setup, the gear you're playing through? I know you play through some delay and distortion.

CV: I don't use any distortion. If you hear distortion, that's just me growling or doing some weird trumpet stuff. In fact, it's kind of funny, because when I was on tour with Metheny, there was this fan who was kind of stalking us. When we were leaving the soundcheck, he goes up to Steve Rodby and goes, "man, you're like the best bassist in the whole world!" And "you're the shit, Antonio! You're unbelievable! I can't believe how you can play all that stuff!" Finally he gets to me, and he's like, "and you! What kind of weird-ass trumpet shit is that?" [laughing]

So basically, a lot of things that people might think are processed sound are just kind of weird-ass trumpet shit that I do. In terms of gear, the first thing that I run through is a MPX 100 Lexicon, which is a reverb unit that also has different sorts of chorus effects and delays—but the delays are kind of like ambient delay. You know, a lot of people, instead of using reverb, they use delay to give the impression of reverb. It just sounds a lot hipper than reverb, unless you're playing really precise, fast, attacky stuff. So I alternate between using a lot of reverb, and just that kind of ambient delay stuff. I can have it be very little delay, or very heavy on the delay, less of the dry sound. Then I split that into two paths, and one I run into a DigiTech PDS 8000, which is the same one that Frisell has. It's just a guitar delay thing that has up to eight seconds of delay. The other path I send to a Boss DD20, which is just another looping delay unit. That's pretty much all I have. Just two independent delays so I can kind of layer stuff onto each other.

AAJ: I hear a backwards effect at times on your CDs.

CV: I would love to have a backwards effect, but I don't. I'm just making that sound naturally. Another weird-ass trumpet thing.

AAJ: I want to ask you just a little about playing in the Pat Metheny Group, which you joined in time to play on 2002's Speaking of Now CD. I do think you add so much to that band and I really like The Way Up [the newest Metheny Group album from 2005]. You're all over it.

CV: You think so?

AAJ: Compared to Speaking of Now, yeah. I mean, there is going to be more guitar than trumpet, but you're a real presence. But what I am curious about is your first months with the group. I think if I were a musician asked to join such a longstanding and popular band, I'd be pretty intimidated and also unsure about what my role was supposed to be. So what were the first months like?

CV: Well, it was exactly what you thought it was: very intimidating. I mean, not only because they've been doing it for so long and they have their thing and they have a huge following. You know, when I went onto Pat's website, the hype was unbelievable; it made me feel really small. And it's kind of this cultish thing. So that's another point of intimidation. And the fact that I grew up really checking out a lot of their music and really was a big fan to the point of idolizing Pat and Lyle [Mays]. They were really my heroes when I was a kid. So I never really snapped out of it, so it was really, really hard to play. Not only that, but I was really into a whole different thing where, by the time that Pat had called me, I had almost decided that I really didn't want to play that way anymore; I thought it was crap—not so much Pat, just popular mainstream jazz. I was into the free thing. And then so when he asked me to join the band, it was like, well, now I'm going to be a hypocrite if I join the band. But I thought, "hey, I've idolized them. I've got to have this experience, I've got to know what this is like. It's going to be a huge learning experience and not only that, but the exposure's going to be good; I can quit my day job." You know, all kinds of stuff.

So then when I did actually do the group, I thought, "well, maybe he wants to really change the direction of the music. Why else would he hire somebody like me? I can't play like that, but I can add my own stuff." So then we get to the studio—and he hands me these solos that are all these chords and really complex stuff that I hadn't worked on for years! I could barely feel, like, an eight-bar phrase at that point. Because what we [Cuong's own band] were doing at that point was completely free—like what I was talking about before, where we just want to feel the gravity pull us and collectively decide, "okay, this is one." Not like, "that's one and we're going to have to play towards where that one is supposed to be." So after six years of doing it the way I was doing it, finding four-bar phrases or eight-bar phrases became kind of hard! Not only that, but I had to play over these really complex changes and they're very specific about what notes you can play. Not only the right scale—but within the right scale, which notes of the chords to avoid and which notes are functioning which way, all kinds of stuff.

And the more I worked on stuff and the more I learned—the more I realized all that I had to learn. It got to the point that I was so insecure that I could barely even play a note without feeling like Pat and Lyle were going to be, you know, shaking their heads in disgust. It was rough! The first tour was really hard; every solo was like this life or death thing: am I going to embarrass myself in front of thousands of people and have them shake their heads at me or am I going to somehow luck out and play a good solo? But I practiced every day on tour. I was practicing something like four hours a day—on top of touring. Nobody does that! Only freaky people do that because they're obsessed, but for me it was like, "if I don't practice, I'm going to suck, and they're going to hate me."

AAJ: The motivation of terror.

CV: Yeah. So that was rough, and after that tour, I was like, "this is never going to happen again. I never want to feel less than the people on the stage that I'm with; I never want to feel like I'm being intimidated. Fuck that—that's not going to happen ever again." So I spent like eight to ten hours a day practicing all the stuff that I was learning in college about playing over changes, form—just trying to get back. And then for the second tour, it was totally cool. But I had to work my ass off to get back! And the hard thing about it is doing something that you don't believe in. I did it because I respect those guys and I wanted to be a part of it—but before he asked me to play in the band, I was like, "that way of playing is old, dead, I don't want to do it." But the good thing is, now that I've gotten better, I realize that I can actually use this to my advantage. I can actually incorporate this into my music and find a fresh way for me to approach playing over changes, over form, or whatever. Just playing jazz. And not having to feel so bitter and hateful towards that music anymore. So it turned out to be a really good thing.

AAJ: Are you going to do it in the future?

CV: I'm going to do it until I feel like I'm not getting anything out of it. Or until they feel like they're not getting anything out of me. So it can end tomorrow or it can last another ten years. You just never know; people change their minds every day. As long as it's fun and I feel like I'm growing and contributing, it's cool.

AAJ: Very reasonable. So you have this new album; therefore I assume you won't be recording a new one very soon. So what are you doing for the rest of this year?

CV: Basically, try to get the record out there. Hopefully, more interviews and reviews will come, and I'm trying to set up as many tours as I can. And if I have time, hopefully I can just spend fifteen minutes a day writing, and come up with some nuggets that I can then work on later. Just try to get better at writing. I don't want to go another four years without doing a record. But I also don't want to do a record if I don't have anything to say. It just comes down to working on it.

Visit Cuong Vu on the web.


Selected Discography

Cuong Vu, It's Mostly Residual (ArtistShare, 2005)
Pat Metheny Group, The Way Up (Nonesuch, 2005)
Myra Melford's The Tent, Where the Two Worlds Touch (Arabesque, 2004)
Matthias Lupri, Transition Sonic (Summit, 2004)
Andy Laster, Window Silver Bright (New World, 2002)
Pat Metheny Group, Speaking of Now (Warner Brothers, 2002)
Cuong Vu, Come Play With Me (Knitting Factory, 2001)
Laurent Brondel, Weld (Tone Casualties, 2001)
Laurie Anderson, Life on a String (Atlantic, 2001)
Cuong Vu, Pure (Knitting Factory, 2000)
Cuong Vu, Bound (Omnitone, 2000)
Ron SexsmithWhereabouts (Interscope, 1999)
Assif Tsahar's Brass Reeds Ensemble, The Hollow World (Hopscotch, 1999)
Orange Then Blue, Hold the Elevator: Live in Europe & Other Haunts (GM, 1999)
Chris Speed's Yeah NO, Deviantics (Songlines, 1999)
Gerry Hemingway, Chamber Works (Tzadik, 1999)
Ken Schaphorst Big Band, Purple (Naxos Jazz, 1998)
Chris Speed's Yeah NO, Yeah No (Songlines, 1997)
Dave Douglas, Sanctuary (Avant, 1997)
Cuong Vu/Jamie Saft, Ragged Jack (Avant, 1997)
Andy Laster, Interpretations of Lessness (Songlines, 1996)
Bobby Previte's Weather Clear, Track Fast, Too Close to the Pole (Enja, 1996)
Jeff Song & Lowbrow, Rules of Engagement (Asian Improv, 1995)
Mili Bermejo Quartet, Casa Corazon (Green Linnet, 1994)
Orange Then Blue, While You Were Out (GM, 1992)

Photo Credits
Top photo: Valerie Trucchia
All others: Virginia Valdes



comments powered by Disqus
Download jazz mp3 “Touching Corners” by Naked Truth Download jazz mp3 “Leaps of Faith” by Cuong Vu Download jazz mp3 “Brittle, Like Twigs” by Cuong Vu