One of the most distinctive jazz sounds to have appeared this millennium has been shaped by Cuong Vu
. Beginning with his It's Mostly Residual
(ArtistShare, 2005) through Vu-Tet
(ArtistShare, 2007) and into Leaps of Faith,
(Origin Records 2011), the modernistic and often plugged-in trumpeter has crafted an assault of sound: a thick, sludgy, glow-in-the-dark, pugnaciously percussive music that reaches out of the speakers and grabs you by the front of the shirt. Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
doesn't change a thing. It's the same brashness, the same solar flare of a sound. Pat Metheny
, the legendary guitarist, fits right in here, in the same way he fit into Ornette Coleman's idiosyncratic world view on Song X
(Geffin Records, 1986). Though in the case of Vu, it was sitting in with a former band mateVu played in Metheny's band in the early 2000s, contributing to the guitarist's Speaking of Now
(2002) and The Way Up
(2005), both on .
But this is Vu's record, beginning with "Acid Kiss," a searing nine minute-plus electro-anthem that sounds as if it were recorded on a planet with a thicker, more viscous atmosphere than Earth's. Bassist Stomu Takeishi
and drummer Ted Poor
send out soundwaves that shake your rib cage; Metheny an Vu wail like malevolent leviathans of the denser atmosphere that rule that extra-terrestrial world, and God help the puny humanoid who sets down there. Bracing stuff.
The mood is maintained with "Not Crazy (Just Giggying Up)." Metheny gets a chance to step out a bit more here, spitting out stinging, rapid-fire notes. The momentum is fierce, with Takeishi and Poor raging. "Seeds of Doubt" says these guys can lay down a ballad with a finesse that remains muscular, with some introspective, pretty playing by Metheny. "Tiny Little Pieces" sounds as if rode the radio waves in from somewhere in deep space; and "Telescope," Pat Metheny's one compositional contributionthe rest are Vu originalshas a forceful luminositystarlight, not reflected light. Metheny soars.
Cuanog Vu's artistic voice remains singular. Powerhouse sounds.
Acid Kiss; Not Crazy (Just Giddy Upping); Seeds Of Doubt; Tiny Little Pieces;
Telescope; Let's Get Back; Tune Blues.
Cuong Vu: trumpet; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Ted Poor: drums; Pat Metheny: