Cuong Vu

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Cuong Vu
Photo Hreinn Gudlaugsson
Background information
Born Vietnam
Genres Jazz

Cuong Vu (born 19 September 1969) is a multi Grammy Award-winning Vietnamese-American jazz trumpeter and vocalist.[1][2]


Born in Saigon, Vu left Vietnam with his family at the age of five in 1975, settling in Bellevue, Washington (an Eastside suburb of Seattle). He quickly learned English, adapted to his new country and culture and began to play the trumpet at the age of 11, after receiving the instrument as a gift from his mother.

Career in music[edit]

Immediately after graduating NEC with honors, Vu moved to New York City, and quickly established himself on the jazz scene with his first co-led group, Ragged Jack (with Jamie Saft, Andrew D'Angelo and Jim Black) and his sideman work with many of the "Downtown Creative Music" artists whose music scene revolved around clubs such as the Knitting Factory and Tonic. Although often labeled as an avant-garde player, Vu does not limit himself to this type of playing, preferring to use influences from many forms of contemporary jazz, as well as rock, electronica, groove and ambient musics.

Vu has worked with musicians including Laurie Anderson, David Bowie, Dave Douglas, Myra Melford, Gerry Hemingway, and Mitchell Froom. Vu has recorded and toured with Pat Metheny as trumpeter and vocalist.

Cuong has also led various groups, including his CV Trio with bassist Stomu Takeishi and drummer Ted Poor, and Vu-Tet (featuring Chris Speed). His recordings display elements from seemingly disparate musical styles, yet blur the boundaries of these genres while showcasing his approach to sound, texture and group improvisation.

Vu is shy about considering himself a bona fide composer, due to his respect for classical composition, but he has developed his own compositional style that concisely sets his bands' improvisational approach and draws from each of the members of his bands.

In 2003 and again in 2006 Cuong received Grammy Awards for Best Contemporary Jazz Album, for his work on the Pat Metheny Group's 2002 album Speaking of Now and 2005 album The Way Up.

Cuong currently resides in Seattle where he’s recognized by the transformation he's brought to the University of Washington’s Jazz Program and its impact on a local group of young, boundary pushing musicians who have formed a burgeoning scene revolving around The Racer Sessions and its extension, Table and Chairs Records.


As leader[edit]

As sideman[edit]

  • 2014 - Alastor: Book of Angels Volume 21 - Eyvind Kang
  • 2010 – Closer – Wasabi Trio meet Cuong Vu
  • 2010 – Gagarin – Mickey Finn + Cuong Vu
  • 2010 – Speak
  • 2009 – The Whole Tree Gone – Myra Melford
  • 2008 – Coziness Kills – Jesper Løvdal
  • 2008 – Incendio – Los Dorados
  • 2006 – The Image of Your Body – Myra Melford
  • 2006 – The Way Up (DVD) – Pat Metheny Group
  • 2006 – Grill Music – Jesper Løvdal
  • 2005 – The Way Up – Pat Metheny Group
  • 2005 – Swell Henry – Chris Speed
  • 2004 – Where The Two Worlds Touch – Myra Melford
  • 2004 – Transition Sonic – Matthias Lupri
  • 2003 – Speaking of Now (DVD) – Pat Metheny Group
  • 2002 – Speaking of Now – Pat Metheny Group
  • 2002 – Window Silver Bright – Andy Laster
  • 2001 – "Your Turn to Drive" – David Bowie (single)
  • 2001 – Life on a String – Laurie Anderson
  • 2000 – Emit – Chris Speed
  • 2000 – The Hollow World – Assif Tsahar & The Brass Reeds Ensemble
  • 2000 – Luciano's Dream – Oscar Noriega
  • 1999 – Deviantics – Chris Speed
  • 1999 – Chamber Works – Gerry Hemingway
  • 1999 – Hold the Elevator: Live in Europe & Other Haunts – Orange Then Blue
  • 1997 – Yeah/No – Chris Speed
  • 1997 – Other Pocket – Jeff Song
  • 1997 – Interpretations of Lessness – Andy Laster
  • 1997 – Sanctuary – Dave Douglas
  • 1997 – Rules of Engagement – Jeff Song
  • 1993 – While You Were Out – Orange Then Blue


External links[edit]