351

Cuong Vu: Vu-Tet

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Cuong Vu: Vu-Tet 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 with the early electric guitars sixty years or so ago—and look how far things have gone in the six string arena from, say, Muddy Waters to Pat Metheny.

Which brings us to trumpeter Cuong Vu and Vu-Tet.

Vu's It's Mostly Residual (ArtistShare, 2006) met with a bunch of critical success, though—full disclosure—this listener didn't get it and dismissed it in short order. It sounded unnecessarily weird and uncentered. With Vu-Tet Vu has honed his message to a razor sharp edge, and come up with a cohesive set in which each tune can stand nicely on its own (though this evolution may have more to do with the education of the listener's ears than it does with Vu's artistry).

The disc opens with "Intro," sounding like static wind in a neon cathedral, a glowing ambient wash of sound that leads into "Accelerated Thoughts," a tune of stuttering rhythms, thick sludgy bass lines(Stomu Takeishi) and power house drumming (Ted Poor). Vu blows manically and reedist Chris Speed rants in on tenor saxophone.

"Solitary Confinement" slows the pace, starting out in an inward mood that gradually builds. The electronic aspect of the horns makes it difficult to tell who or what's blowing—clarinet, alto flute, or wired trumpet? Not that it matters any more than it mattered with much of Miles Davis' early seventies electric work.

The approach on "Just a Memory" is sedated, lyrical and gentle; a pretty pop song that eventually cranks up into an intense wail fest for Vu and saxophonist Speed. "Never, Ever, Ever" sounds boppish in the beginning, then the fire builds, with Vu and Speed blowing blistering diatribes.

Vu-Tet—an innovative, modernistic, compelling recording, from start to finish—answers the "Why plug in a trumpet?" question convincingly. Outstanding!


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: reeds; Stomu Takeishi: bass; Ted Poor: drums.

Year Released: 2008 | Record Label: ArtistShare | Style: Beyond Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "The Beautiful Day" CD/LP/Track Review The Beautiful Day
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: December 6, 2016
Read "Josh At Midnight" CD/LP/Track Review Josh At Midnight
by James Nadal
Published: July 19, 2016
Read "Sus" CD/LP/Track Review Sus
by Geno Thackara
Published: October 12, 2016
Read "Here’s to You..." CD/LP/Track Review Here’s to You...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: November 9, 2016
Read "Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27" CD/LP/Track Review Flaga: Book of Angels, Volume 27
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 14, 2016
Read "Which Craft?" CD/LP/Track Review Which Craft?
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 30, 2016

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!