Cuong Vu: More Than Just Notes
Though there hasn't been much audience crossover, touring with Metheny opened Vu's eyes to the dwindling support and declining audiences for jazz, even for an artist of his renown. Back in NYC, venues were disappearing and Vu hadn't been playing many gigs as a leader. Ultimately, he moved back west.
Since then, he's started teaching at the University of Washington. Somewhat ironically, given his rebelliousness, Vu stresses basics so that his students have strong foundations for building their sound. He's impressed with their openness and hopes to foster a creative music scene there.
His new CD, Vu-Tet, was released in early 2008 on the ArtistShare label. This time, the trio was joined by Speed. The two developed an affinity over the years in Speed's yeah NO group and their complementary and sympathetic unison lines propel the music. For now, these projects are enough for Vu, who prefers to work with the same tight-knit unit, rather than constantly changing groups. Re-energized and focused, Vu muses, "I'm working so hard, I'm still growing."
Cuong Vu, Vu-Tet (ArtistShare, 2007)
Cuong Vu, It's Mostly Residual (ArtistShare, 2005)
Chris Speed's yeah NO, Swell Henry (Squealer, 2004)
Cuong Vu, This, This and That (Pure/Come and Play with Me) (Knitting Factory/ArtistShare, 2000-1)
Cuong Vu, Bound (OmniTone, 1999)
Jamie Saft/Cuong Vu, Ragged Jack (Avant, 1995)
Top Photo: Valerie Trucchia (©2000)
Bottom Photo: Frank Rubolino