Cuong Vu & Ted Poor

December 30th, 2014


On November 2 at EMP, the 2014 Earshot Jazz Festival presented a new trio featuring Ted Poor on drums, Cuong Vu on trumpet and effects, and Pete Rende on synths. The well-documented, 10-year hook up of Ted Poor as the creatively rhythmic backbone to Cuong Vu’s torrential-but-virtuosic textures takes on brand new possibilities with Pete Rende on synths. The performance was an emotive study in power and refinement, and the newest installment of a storied musical journey.

Widely recognized by jazz critics for his unique musical voice, Vu has established himself as one of the leading trumpeters in new jazz and improvised music. After an extended period in New York City, the Seattle native returned in 2007 as an associate professor at the University of Washington, where he is currently the Donald E. Peterson Endowed Professor and Chair of the Music Department’s Jazz Studies Program. Vu has extended great effort to support and grow the city’s local jazz and improvised music scenes. “His presence here has been crucial to expanding the local experimental music scene,” noted Seattle magazine in 2012. Vu advises the Improvised Music Project, a UW-based advocacy group comprised of many of his former students that promotes improvised music and regularly hosts performances at the Café Racer sessions. “By all accounts he has galvanized his students,” observed Nate Chinen in 2010, “charging them with a radical sense of purpose and advocating on their behalf.” It’s an ethos that more than vaguely resembles the 1990s “downtown” scene that Vu was part of early in his career, the energy of which he has likened to Seattle’s current jazz scene.

A frequent collaborator of Vu’s, Poor has held residencies and several prestigious academic institutions and is currently Artist in Residence at the University of Washington. The drummer graduated from the Eastman School of Music in 2003 and subsequently became a significant force in New York’s improvised music scene. Described by Modern Drummer as an “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward thinking drummer, he is in high demand as a player and has performed and recorded Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Frisell, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Maria Schneider, Aaron Parks and Ralph Alessi.




Leave a Reply