This, That & the Other - Miscellaneous "Randomnivities"

Selected Press

Some critics’ favorable descriptions of my stuff -

Vu composes and plays a kind of music that is both jazz and not-jazz, post-rock without the pretention, metal without the cookie monster voice. Whatever it is, it’s brilliant…but it’s going to take me the whole review to explain what it sounds like. Because the problem is that Cuong Vu hates jazz. Of course, he also loves it. This ambiguity is how we get our best music. It’s fair to say that this is pretty freakin’ great. - Matt Cibula, popmatters.com

Listeners coming from jazz won’t feel lost. Plenty of the genre’s current obsessions are here: odd-meter rhythm patterns, slow soloing over fast rhythms (vice versa too), and a kind of bucolic lyricism…the point of Mr. Vu’s music, at its best, is just that: to make you feel lost in it. – Ben Ratliff, NY Times

Vu carves out intricate melodies that are so immaculately crafted they almost feel simple, pure. In the end Vu’s music homes in on one dynamic sound: om. – Sam Prestianni, Jazziz

Indeed, the blending of contemporary jazz and rock define the Vu-Tet as much as their material does. That the Vu-Tet is able to make so many disparate elements intersect at all, let alone with cohesion and vitality, speaks to Vu and the Band’s marvelous imagination. – Michael J. West, JazzTimes

Cuong Vu has established a firm identity as a progressive futurist, steeped in the technoinfluenced cum electric contemporary sound…This is yet another tremendous effort for Cuong Vu, a distinct, unique stylist and soloist that is rising ever swiftly as one of the very best modern trumpet players on the improvised or jazz music scene. - Michael G. Nastos, All Music Guide

Vu's music is a living residue of journeys taken and journeys returned from, in sound. A sound picture-within-a-picture, filled with brimming memory and emotion, it bears the audible traces of a various human life - a life, lived today. - David Fujino, www.thelivemusicreport.com

The first sounds you hear on Cuong Vu's new album are ethereal trumpet moans joined by equally otherworldly clusters of notes emanating from a guitar. These sounds herald the beginning of a musical marriage made in electronic heaven. I'm not sure if Vu is dealing in metaphor, but with music organized and chaotic, at once over-the-edge and strangely engaging, he's created an apt tone poem for the 21st century. - Ron Netsky, Rochester City News

Random Thoughts

Over the last 9 years (starting with our initial journey with little Vina, my 8 year old), I've been pretty infrequent with public performances.  One reason is that I just wanted to be home and spend as much time with our little family as we constantly fawned and doted over our little one.  

 

The other was that I pulled an extreme Sonny Rollins where I just felt like I had nothing more to offer to the public so I just had to practice, practice, practice and practice (not to play publicly until I felt ready with some new stuff).  Besides staying active with making recordings (documentation of my progress), I really wasn't performing much.

 

In the last 5 years, Ted Poor and I have been doing weekly playing together (since he also is a professor here at the University of Washington, working 3 flights up from me).  One day, after some duo playing, it dawned on us both that we'd really developed our language, approach, and concepts in this duo setting even without setting out to do so (we were mostly in a free improv setting with Indigo Mist).

 

How convenient(!) now, that as Ted embarks on his recording career as a leader with his latest record on Impulse, that we have this thing that we both want to ride and explore with for a bit?  The last few performances have been so fun and rewarding that I'm very excited to test out the waters of more frequent performances and see how that goes (with being away from the family and all...).  In any case, keep an eye out for us!