Amazon.com Widgets

Recent Articles

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Indigo Mist: Cuong Vu - Richard Karpen: That The Days Go By And Never Come Again

Read "That The Days Go By And Never Come Again" reviewed by

Pioneering trumpeter, composer Cuong Vu and pianist Richard Karpen push the envelope by not releasing a cut and dry tribute to Duke Ellington and his counterpart Billy Strayhorn . With a standard jazz quartet supported by iPad and electronics performers, to say this album follows mainstream jazz guidelines would be a miscue of sorts. Unconventional wisdom and atypical treatments accentuate this production of three Ellington-Strayhorn compositions and several originals by the quartet. According to Vu, the spirit of Ellington and Strayhorn presided during the recording session, amid references to the music taking on the semblance of an extended ...

INTERVIEWS

Cuong Vu: Agogic Logic

Read "Cuong Vu: Agogic Logic"

New York may be the major incubator for all that's best in American jazz but there are healthy signs that vibrant scenes are emerging in other cities. Long-term New York-resident, alto saxophonist David Binney recently expressed a desire to spend more time in the jazz scene in Los Angeles, where he says: “there's something really happening." Further north, in Seattle, there's something going on too; an exciting scene is developing around a core of young musicians who see the jazz tradition not as one of emulation, but as essentially one of innovation and progress. The emergence of so many like-minded, ...

MULTIPLE REVIEWS

Cuong Vu: Cooking in Seattle

Read "Cuong Vu: Cooking in Seattle" reviewed by

Returning to home town Seattle after 15 years on the east coast has been a good move for trumpeter Cuong Vu judging by the outstanding music on these three CDs and the movement he has largely inspired in Seattle's young creative musicians. Bassist Luke Bergman is a constant on these recordings, adding new depth to Vu's 4-Tet on the uniquely atmospheric live recording Leaps of Faith, and wonderful grooves to Agogic, the self-titled debut of an exciting quartet. A little further back, 2010”s Speak is a rousing endorsement of Seattle's young, creative music scene, and Vu's importance as its guiding ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu: Leaps of Faith

Read "Leaps of Faith" reviewed by

Over the last 10 years, trumpeter Cuong Vu has made an impact as an innovator who filters music through the prism of his imagination. He has been agile enough to fit into bands as diverse as those led by Myra Melford and Pat Metheny, and has also carved a niche for himself as a leader who turns his compositions into distinctive portraits of startling imagery. On Leaps of Faith, he focuses his attention on three jazz standards, two pop tunes and three originals. Vu's proclivity for the unusual can be witnessed in the lineup, which also includes two ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu 4-Tet: Leaps of Faith

Read "Leaps of Faith" reviewed by

Cuong Vu's Leaps of Faith is one of the most creative and thoughtful jazz recordings released so far this year, suggesting that jazz remains alive and thriving. Like the best of contemporary jazz, it's mixture of worlds is both atonal and melodic; free, but following form; complex, while also accessible. This record is rich in musical experiences, beginning with a free-flowing interpretation of the classic “Body and Soul," that drifts along on Vu's tender trumpet lines. Another standard, “All the Things You Are," is set to the 4-tet's solid and unerring rhythm section. The two-bass approach to ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu 4-Tet: Leaps of Faith

Read "Leaps of Faith" reviewed by

The order and presentation of music on a recording or in a recital are every bit as important in the music producer's skill set as is choosing what music to include. Had trumpeter Cuong Vu introduced his Vu-Tet's Leaps of Faith with the title piece, or “Child-Like (for Vina)," it would have been easy to dismiss the recording as a well-intentioned experiment, descending into noise and chaos before making its point. Instead, Vu and co-producer/bassist Luke Bergman wisely introduce the album with three tried-and-true standards: “Body and Soul"; “All The Things You Are"; and “My Funny Valentine." ...

ARTIST PROFILES

Cuong Vu: More Than Just Notes

Read "Cuong Vu: More Than Just Notes"

Truculent blasts of white noise kissed with delay. Ghostly whispers evolving to plaintive cries. Soaring melodies comprised of bold, rounded notes. Trumpeter Cuong Vu's vast sonic palette was formed with intense dedication and by choosing nonconformist paths.After moving to New York in 1994, his sound quickly found a home with veterans like drummer Gerry Hemingway and pianist Myra Melford; contemporaries like saxophonist Chris Speed and keyboardist Jamie Saft and legends like Laurie Anderson and guitarist Pat Metheny. He's also led or co-led a half-dozen CDs that reveal his aesthetic: broad, arcing melodies to launch challenging improvisational frameworks.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu: Vu-tet

Read "Vu-tet" reviewed by

One way to gauge the strength of a jazz player, especially one who also composes, is to be able identify his or her vision regardless of the changes that occur in the output over time. Does he or she have an attitude, a voice, or a musical message that draws one in, possibly challenging assumptions along the way? With Vu-tet, trumpeter and electronic sound painter Cuong Vu has created an extremely strong and integrated work that is at turns invigorating, assertive, thought-provoking and just plain beautiful. His music can be approached from many vantage points because he ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu: Vu-tet

Read "Vu-tet" reviewed by

It's a funny sensation of displacement, the “Vu effect." One moment, you're embraced by a warm and almost New Age-y sense of wholeness. This is the case of leader Cuong Vu's airy, ethereal trumpet playing on “Intro" or “Now I Know." In the same vein, bassist Stomu Takeishi borrows liberally from Jaco Pastorious' trick bag (e.g. “Continuum"): sunny and serene harmonics on “Just a Memory," elastic statements of melody on “Solitary Confinement." The next moment, however, Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor abruptly pound you out of your reverie with the claustrophobic propulsion of a speed-metal band. Where am ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu: Vu-Tet

Read "Vu-Tet" reviewed by

Cuong Vu has long established his reputation as an adventurous musician who takes his compositions and his trumpet playing into constantly evolving worlds. His is a constant forging of the new and different, traits that he wraps in thought-provoking schematic concepts that include jazz, rock and whatever else that grabs his fancy, as long as it stimulates the framework of his composition.

The elliptical force of the band is seen in all its majestic power on “Accelerated Thoughts. Vu vents a torrid gale of notes that swirl, cut, dip and incense even as his flurries pour out in ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu: Vu-Tet

Read "Vu-Tet" reviewed by

One could wonder why in the world these people are wiring up their trumpets, instruments that, acoustically, make such beautiful sounds. Ingrid Jensen plugs in her horn, notably (and beautifully) on The “Pretty Road" from Maria Schneider's Sky Blue (ArtistShare, 2007) and Natsuki Tamura on Hada Hada (Libra Records, 2003) sucks up enough electrons to keep Las Vegas lit up for a year. To take things a step further, John Swana, on Cycles (Vector Disc, 2006) eschews the brass altogether and goes with an electric valve instrument.All this new wiring must be reminiscent of what was going on ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu: Vu-Tet

Read "Vu-Tet" reviewed by

Vietnamese-born trumpet phenomenon Cuong Vu has been melding electronic soundscapes and rock-oriented structures with jazz improvisation since his debut, Bound (Omnitone, 2000). Following in the footsteps of the critically acclaimed It's Mostly Residual (ArtistShare, 2005), Vu continues to explore the fertile territory between electronic and acoustic music.

Joined by fellow New York Downtown scene veteran, multi-reedist Chris Speed, Vu's fifth album as a leader features an expanded variation on his regular trio with bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor. Eschewing conservative traditionalism, Vu's writing combines advanced jazz harmony and rhythmic syncopation with the emotionally direct melodic structures ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Cuong Vu: Vu-Tet

Read "Vu-Tet" reviewed by

On Vu-Tet, his follow-up to It's Mostly Residual (ArtistShare, 2005), trumpeter Cuong Vu continues to mine similar turf, ranging from the deeply lyrical to the aggressively hardcore. But with considerable touring under the belt of his regular working trio, featuring bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor--with and without Vu-Tet's guest saxophonist/clarinetist Chris Speed--there's an emerging group identity as concerned with texture and color as it is playing that is at times delicate and ethereal, elsewhere visceral and fervently propulsive.

With the possible exception of Norway's Nils Petter Molvaer and Arve Henriksen, there's simply no other ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mark O' Leary / Cuong Vu / Tom Rainey: Waiting

Read "Waiting" reviewed by

Two venerable New York City downtown vets, trumpeter/experimentalist Cuong Vu and drummer Tom Rainey, impart their distinct musical personas upon budding Irish guitarist Mark O'Leary's latest recording, a this studio set. Vu incorporates textural components via loops and EFX, while flexing some muscle on his trumpet. O'Leary's motivation is underscored by the works of famed Irish playwright Samuel Beckett.

He commences the gala with pensive, Ralph Towner-like twelve-string acoustic guitar voicings on the opening title track. Then Vu follows with dark-toned lines atop Rainey's colorific cymbal swashes. During most of this session, polytonal contrasts play a vital role; the pieces ...



Support All About Jazz Through Amazon

Weekly Giveaways

Carmen Lundy

Carmen Lundy

About | Enter

Wadada Leo Smith

Wadada Leo Smith

About | Enter

Mort Weiss

Mort Weiss

About | Enter

Rotem Sivan

Rotem Sivan

About | Enter

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW

Community Members

Join our growing community of
writers, musicians, visual artists and advocates.

Join Us Today!

Enter it twice.
To the weekly jazz events calendar

Enter the numbers in the graphic
Enter the code in this picture

Log in

One moment, you will be redirected shortly.