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; Chris Speed: tenor saxophone, clarinet; Stomu Takeishi: fretless electric bass; Ted Poor: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Artist Share | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Live At The Troubadour 1969" CD/LP/Track Review Live At The Troubadour 1969
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: January 14, 2017
Read "Godspeed" CD/LP/Track Review Godspeed
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: December 9, 2016
Read "Songs From Afar" CD/LP/Track Review Songs From Afar
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 11, 2016
Read "MG50 Peace & Fire" CD/LP/Track Review MG50 Peace & Fire
by Mark Corroto
Published: July 12, 2016
Read "Sarabande" CD/LP/Track Review Sarabande
by Budd Kopman
Published: March 3, 2016
Read "The Quest: Live at the A.P.C." CD/LP/Track Review The Quest: Live at the A.P.C.
by Jim Trageser
Published: February 14, 2017

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!