December 31, 2007
Cuong Vu - It's Mostly Residual
Since much of what passes across a music reviewer's desk is the sonic equivalent of hyenas gnawing on the bones of long-dead jazz styles, the arrival of something new that's both original and great gives twice the reason to celebrate. Vu is capable of some intense, headlong improvisation, as is clear on the aptly titled "Expressions of a Neurotic Impulse" and "Brittle, Like Twigs," but his real strength is the extended, gorgeous lines that he unspools on the other cuts. The title track, in particular, offers a melody that seems to take measure upon measure to reach its culmination – it's stately, elegiac, and yet not in the least mournful; one could only describe it as the sound of someone looking back on a glorious love affair that has ended without bitterness. This is all a way of saying that Vu's playing has an emotional resonance that's rarely found these days without having to sift through layers of hokum.
"Edward Batchelder, Signal to Noise"
Cuong Vu - trumpet
Stomu Takeishi - bass
Ted Poor - drums
Bill Frisell - guitar
Like what you hear, buy it! And support the artists that really need it.