Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Cuong Vu 4-Tet: Leaps of Faith

JazzTimes may earn a small commission if you buy something using one of the retail links in our articles. JazzTimes does not accept money for any editorial recommendations. Read more about our policy here. Thanks for supporting JazzTimes.

When not collaborating with top-ranking improvisers like Pat Metheny and Myra Melford, trumpeter Cuong Vu has spent the past 10 years making ethereal, languorous, cinematic music of his own writing. Standards? Not his thing. Not until now, anyway.

At first blush, Leaps of Faith appears to be an about-face for Vu, whose previous albums have featured original tunes and nothing else. But it takes all of a few seconds to realize that when Vu decides to tackle “Body and Soul,” “All the Things You Are” and “My Funny Valentine,” he doesn’t exactly play them. On the contrary, these well-worn classics-chosen, no doubt, because they are well worn-become only the frame for Vu’s dreamy, chaotic wanderings. Only now and then does Vu’s plaintive trumpet touch back down on the melody of any of these tunes, while his two electric bassists, Stomu Takeishi and Luke Bergman, and his drummer, Ted Poor, do everything but play classic jazz. “Body and Soul” opens, in fact, with a giant, defiant echo effect on the bass, as if to announce, before anyone gets any funny ideas, “This ain’t your grandpa’s ‘Body and Soul.'”

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published