News, Commentary on Classical Music, Jazz, Theater, Dance & More

The Cuong Vu Trio 'Meets Pat Metheny' on New Nonesuch Records Release [REVIEW]

Get the Most Popular Classicalite Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

Jul 04, 2016 02:58 PM EDT | Mike Greenblatt (

Cuong Vu

Cuong Vu leads his trio in a meeting with guitarist Pat Metheny. (Photo : Peter Purgar)

Guitarist/composer Pat Metheny has always loved to jam with those who could match his unending enthusiasm, inventiveness and chops. To that end, he's performed/recorded with the likes of Ornette Coleman, Steve Reich, Charlie Haden and Brad Mehldau. Now, the Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny (Nonesuch) on a dense seven-track meandering adventure.

The recipient of 20 Grammys in 12 separate categories over the course of 30 years, Metheny, whose band-The Pat Metheny Group (founded in 1977)-holds the record for the most consecutive Grammy Award-winning releases (seven), has met his match with Vu. Who? Vu! Dude's played with Bowie! A graduate of the New England Conservatory, this is his ninth CD as a leader. He's been a mainstay within the Pat Metheny Group on trumpet and is currently an associate professor in jazz studies at the University of Washington.

Bassist Stomu Takeishi fortifies his electricity with electronics. Sure, he holds down the bottom, but he also loops his bass electronically, almost like what Jaco Pastorius was getting into towards the end of his life. Ted Poor, according to Metheny, is a drummer's drummer who can alter his style, approach and feel to whatever the task at hand requires. He shines on opener "Acid Kiss" yet lays back unobtrusively on closer "Tune Blues."

Iconoclast Vu writes complex circuitous inventions ("Telescope") that test the limits of not only his bandmates but the listener as well. Not meant as background music, unless you concentrate and lose yourself in his mix'n'match melodies and their not-so-obvious harmonic constructions, you will not hear what he's puttin' down. Go put on some Kenny G if you want background music. This stuff, when turned loud enough, is foreground entertainment for hipsters, daddyo. The more you listen, the more you derive its singular essence: freedom. In the hands of the wrong folks, that could mean obtrusive cacophony. In the hands of masters like these, it could only mean entangled--and enlightened--bliss.

Get the Most Popular Classicalite Stories in a Weekly Newsletter

© 2015 Classicalite All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

More News

Related Articles

Jazz Great Pat Metheny to Release Two New Albums May 6th

Pat Metheny, Gary Burton, and More Release 'Hommage a Eberhard Weber,' ECM [REVIEW]

Kansas City Jazz District Renaissance Co. Opens Walk of Fame on 18th and Vine: Basie, Bird, Metheny and Others First Inductees

Trending Stories

Stay Connected

Most Popular


More Events »

Real Time Analytics