Cuong Vu

Leaps of Faith

origin 82585



MUSIC REVIEW BY Doug Ramsey, Rifftides

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Like Smith's, Vu's is a pianoless quartet, but the instrumentation is rather different: his trumpet, two electric basses and drums. He begins with three standards, "Body and Soul," "All The Things You Are" and "My Funny Valentine," assuring listeners that he is about more than 21st century space music. It's a clever strategy. Vu, bassists Stomu Takeishi and Luke Bergman and drummer Ted Poor bring plenty of adventurism to the classic ballads, but Vu's long lines and lyricism carry over into the collective improvisation of his title tune. Then he edges "Leap of Faith" further and further out until it vaporizes in the exosphere of electronic distortions. Vu's musicianship is so solid that when he mixes jazz, pop, street grunge and amplified random noise, it somehow works, is even reassuring. That is as true of his calming treatments of the Beatles' "Something" and Jackson Browne's "My Opening Farewell" as it is of his kaleidoscopic "I Shall Never Come Back."






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