“The voracious sweep of post millennial jazz has plenty of exemplars but few truer than the trumpeter Cu ong Vu. Over the last decade he has upheld a dream like sound in formed by post-bop but just as rooted in noise pop, grunge and ambient minimalism” wrote the New York Times. Joined by bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor, the Cuong Vu Trio strives in its exploration of sounds and form while embracing the undercurrents of underground rock music along with any other style that may come into their collective impulse. Together, they create a formidable trio that crisscrosses styles and conventional languages in pursuit of a new musical language without boundaries. Their recordings have received glowing reviews and its music has been described as a “beguiling tapestry of sound and motion” (Schwann), “hypnotic” (Jazz Times), “brooding and masterly...awesome and magnificent“ (Jazz Review), “one of the best bands I’ve ever heard” (Pat Metheny).
Trumpet: Cuong Vu
Cuong Vu is widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians. A truly unique musical voice, Cuong has lent his trumpet playing talents to a wide range of artists including Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Dave Douglas, and Myra Melford.
As a youngster, Cuong’s intense dedication and love for music led him to a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with a distinction in performance. Transitioning from his studies in Boston, he moved to New York in 1994 and began his career actively leading various projects while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, Cuong has released eight recordings that were selected onto critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory on the trumpet, blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic.
Awards and honors that Cuong has garnered include grants from the Royalty Research Foundation, ArtistTrust, 4Culture, CityArts and the Colbert Award for Excellence. As an associate professor and chair of Jazz Studies at the University of Washington, Cuong was awarded the Donald E. Peterson Professorship. He was awarded the University of Washington’s prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award in his third year on faculty, and is currently a Donald E. Petersen Endowed Fellow. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. He’s been recognized as one of the top 50 young Jazz Artists in an article called “The New Masters” from the British magazine, “Classic CD” and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s “Come Play With Me” on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time”.
Bass: Stomu Takeishi
Stomu Takeishi (born 1964, in Mito, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan), an experimental jazz bassist, generally playing fretless five-string electric bass guitar, as well as a Klein five-string acoustic bass guitar. Often using looping or other electronic techniques to enhance the sound of his instrument Stomu has been widely acclaimed for his musical “soundscaping” abilities and foundational yet generative improvisational approach.
Drums: Ted Poor
After graduating from the Eastman School of Music in 2003, drummer Ted Poor moved to New York City, where he has made a deep impression on the jazz and improvised music scene. Modern Drummer describes his playing as “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking.” Jazz Review writes, “Ted has an uncanny ability to shape the music and a refreshingly unique, organic approach to playing the drums.” This unique approach has caught the ears of many of jazz’s most established musicians and quickly placed him amongst those drummers most in demand.
Ted has toured the world over and is a regular member of many bands, including those of Grammy award winning trumpeter Cuong Vu, guitarist Ben Monder, Bad Touch, and the Respect Sextet. Ted’s most recent project as a leader is called Mt. Varnum. Formed in August of 2011, Mt. Varnum reconciles a life-long love of deep swing with an equally earnest adoration of classic and indie rock. The band’s forthcoming debut release “Wounded Caroline” is a powerful and complete manifestation of that union.