229

Cuong Vu: Vu-tet

Jeff Dayton-Johnson By

Sign in to view read count
Cuong Vu: Vu-tet 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 I?, you are likely to ask yourself.

In between the sunshine and the speed metal, there are plenty of surprisingly straight-ahead jazz moments on this quirky disc recorded in Mexico City. The Vu-tet's slightly uptight, classically-informed lines are reminiscent of the best of the '60s New Thing, and there is genuinely good writing throughout.

Vu's trumpet playing is part Freddie Hubbard (soulful and soaring precision) and part French bad boy Médéric Collignon (screaming intensity). The thing is, Vu sounds like the latter on the recent Camisetas (Chief Inspector, 2007) project with Jim Black, where Collignon is literally screaming; Vu, meanwhile, seems to be screaming through the mouthpiece.

Saxophonist Chris Speed's tenure with the similarly loud-but-also-mellow Alasnoaxis has prepared him well for the Janus-faced nature of Vu-tet music: fierce and querulous on "Accelerated Thoughts," lyrical without being cloying on "I Promise."

The Vu-tet conceit doesn't always coalesce. Like Speed's saxophone playing, the group's music seems superbly executed but without a center. Nevertheless, moments like "Accelerated Thoughts" and "Never, Ever, Ever," which artfully mash up the pile-driving rhythm section and the ethereal sustain of the horns, are as exciting and satisfying as any music being made right now.

Track Listing: Intro, Accelerated Thoughts; Solitary Confinement; Just a Memory; Never, Ever, Ever; Now I Know (for Vina); I Promise.

Personnel: Cuong Vu: trumpet; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Ted Poor: drums; Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet.

Title: Vu-Tet | Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ArtistShare


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Departure CD/LP/Track Review Departure
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 26, 2017
Read I Know Who I Am CD/LP/Track Review I Know Who I Am
by James Nadal
Published: July 26, 2017
Read With You In Mind CD/LP/Track Review With You In Mind
by Doug Collette
Published: July 26, 2017
Read Roll On CD/LP/Track Review Roll On
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 25, 2017
Read BACHanalia CD/LP/Track Review BACHanalia
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 25, 2017
Read "Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter" CD/LP/Track Review Hybrido - From Rio to Wayne Shorter
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: April 21, 2017
Read "Still Motion" CD/LP/Track Review Still Motion
by Glenn Astarita
Published: July 7, 2017
Read "B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four" CD/LP/Track Review B3tles: A Soulful Tribute To The Fab Four
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: May 8, 2017
Read "Recorded Live in Lafayette" CD/LP/Track Review Recorded Live in Lafayette
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "Luma" CD/LP/Track Review Luma
by Geannine Reid
Published: March 28, 2017
Read "Sizzle" CD/LP/Track Review Sizzle
by Geannine Reid
Published: October 10, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!