Trumpeter Cuong Vu is a very demanded and active musician. He plays with Pat Metheny, he has his own quartet, and plays on the album of many other musicians (Myra Melford, Chris Speed). His last album, "Vu-Tet", already dates back from December 2007, but here we find him back on new albums by two young bands, adding more than just his trumpet-playing to shape their overall sound.
Speak is a young band from Seattle, Washington, with members coming from various musical backgrounds. Keyboardist Aaron Otheim has a classical background, bassist Luke Bergman and saxophonist Andrew Swanson hail from rock bands. Only drummer Chris Icasiano is a trained jazz drummer. The musicians are students of trumpeter Cuong Vu and he helped them shape the music on their first album, and joins on all tracks, and believe me, it is more than worth listening to.
The music is composed from beginning to end, very much like the music of Jim Black or Chris Speed, two musicians well known to Cuong Vu and so his fit into this band is quite organic. They bring their rock-influenced modern jazz with lots of power and drive, leaving sufficient room for improvisation. This is genre-breaking and open-minded music. Clever and performed with lots of skills.