Cuong Vu Trio With Pat Metheny: Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny

Dan McClenaghan By

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Cuong Vu Trio With Pat Metheny: Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny
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 mate—Vu 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 contribution—the rest are Vu originals—has a forceful luminosity—starlight, not reflected light. Metheny soars.

Cuanog Vu's artistic voice remains singular. Powerhouse sounds.

Track Listing

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: guitar.

Album information

Title: Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny | Year Released: 2016 | Record Label: Nonesuch Records

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