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Cuong Vu: It’s Not Pat

Cuong Vu

Most listeners will know trumpeter-vocalist Cuong Vu through his work with the Pat Metheny Group. But on his fourth recording as a leader, the electronics-twisted It’s Mostly Residual (, Vu links up with another ax man for this powerhouse offering: Bill Frisell, who turns in some of his most aggressively over-the-top skronking since his days with Power Tools and Naked City.

With Vu, bassist Stomu Takeishi and Frisell all layering sonic loops simultaneously, and the remarkable young drummer Ted Poor adding to the din, the music can get extremely dense, as on the raucous “Brittle, Like Twigs” or the hellacious “Expressions of a Neurotic Impulse.” Elsewhere, Vu shows a natural gift for lyricism on the delicate “Patchwork,” the radiant “Chitter Chatter,” the melancholy ballad “Blur” and the graceful title track. “Those tunes address my love for popular music that I grew up with and still love, like the music of Björk and bands like Radiohead or the Icelandic art band Sigur Rós, where it’s very tuneful and not just honking on the time.”

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