Cuong Vu

Cuong Vu (surname Vu, b. Saigon in South Vietnam on September 19, 1969) was a jazz trumpeter, and singer. He was born in Saigon and left Vietnam in 1975 with his family to settle in Bellevue (an Eastside suburb in Seattle). After being given the instrument by his mother, he quickly learned English and adapted to the new culture. He began playing the trumpet at 11 years old. After graduating from Bellevue High School he received a full scholarship to the New England Conservatory of Music. He also earned a B.M. degree in jazz studies. He studied with Joe Maneri and George Garzone as well as John McNeil, John McNeil and Tim Morrison. Maneri, a visionary composer and reedman, encouraged Vu explore the unexplored sonic potential of the trumpet. Vu discovered jazz legends like Charlie Parker, Lester Young and Lee Morgan and developed a deep appreciation for the music of classical composers, including Ludwig van Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Gyorgy Lygeti. He also became familiar with avant-gardists such Astaire Coleman, Cecil Taylor, John Coltrane, John Coltrane (post A Love Supreme), and Albert Ayler. Vu graduated NEC with high honors. He quickly moved to New York City and established himself as one the most versatile and innovative young trumpeters in jazz. His first group, Ragged Jack, was co-led by Jamie Saft and Andrew D’Angelo. Vu is often called an avant-garde musician, but he doesn’t limit himself to that style. He prefers to draw from all forms of jazz and electronica. Vu has collaborated with visionaries such as Laurie Anderson, David Bowie and Gerry Hemingway. As a trumpeter and singer, he has recorded and toured the country with Pat Metheny. Cuong has led many groups, including his CV Trio, which includes Stomu Takeishi as bassist and Ted Poor as drummer, and Vu Tet (featuring Chris Speed). Cuong’s recordings combine elements from many musical styles but blur the lines between them. He also showcases his unique approach to sound, texture, and group improvisation. Vu may be shy about calling himself a composer, but Cuong has developed a unique compositional style that sets the bands’ improvisational approach clearly and draws on each member of his band. International jazz critics have praised his writing for its originality and ingenuity. Cuong won the Grammy Awards in 2003 and 2006 for Best Contemporary Jazz Album. This was for his work on Pat Metheny Group’s 2002 and 2005 albums Speaking of Now, and “The Way Up.” Cuong is currently living in Seattle, where he has been recognized for the transformative work he did to the University of Washington Jazz Program and the impact it had on a group of young, boundary-pushing musicians who have created a vibrant scene around The Racer Sessions and Table and Chairs Records. Wikipedia

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