Cuong Vu Keeps it Close to Home for ‘Change In The Air’


On Cuong Vu 4Tet’s Change In The Air (RareNoise), its namesake trumpeter ditches electronic effects.

(Photo: Peter Purgar)

Two tracks carry latent Latin rhythms, though they were not intended as nods to any genre. Bergman’s intimate “Must Concentrate” suggests a bossa nova, reinforced by Frisell’s at-first brushed, barely amplified strings and Vu’s passionately elegant solo. A tango lurks beneath the cagey melody of Poor’s “Lately,” which has a yearning folk feel.

But the mood here and elsewhere on the album is less romantic than it is curiously unsettling. Petulia Mattioli’s jacket art—irregularly shaped, unidentified particles floating under a microscopic lens—reinforces the feeling that whatever the “Change In The Air” might be, it probably isn’t good for you.

“Right now, there are so many pockets of hate,” Vu said of the current political climate, which inevitably seeped in to his consideration of the music. “People aren’t really thinking things through.”

So, maybe it’s not such a bad time to be staying home, after all. Though the 4-Tet probably will jump out a few times for live gigs, Vu mostly will be sticking around Seattle—practicing, composing, teaching and bringing up his daughter.

“I want to be a great musician,” he said. “I tell my students, it’s a lifelong process. There’s always something to learn.” DB

Page 2 of 2   < 1 2

  • web_Ce%CC%81cile_Mclorin_Salvant_2019_New_Orleans_0692_credit_Adam_McCullough.JPG

    Cécile McLorin Salvant performs at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on May 3.

  • coltrane_%C2%A9EsmondEdwards-CTSIMAGES.jpg

    In 1958, John Coltrane turned 32. He’d just rejoined Miles Davis’ band after a sojourn with Thelonious Monk, and had in the previous year finally freed himself of his addiction to drugs and alcohol.

  • lmho_creditShervinLainez.jpg

    Bassist and bandleader Linda May Han Oh calls Aventurine her most ambitious compositional work to date.

  • miles_coolbox_WEB.jpg

    All of Miles Davis’ recordings with his namesake nonet are compiled on The Complete Birth Of The Cool.

  • weasel_creditDominikaMichalowskaWEB.jpg

    ​The Flying Luttenbachers—Brandon Seabrook (left), Weasel Walter, Tim Dahl, Matt Nelson—recently completed a European tour and issued the reconstituted troupe’s first album, Shattered Dimension, in more than a decade.

On Sale Now
August 2019
Cécile McLorin Salvant
Look Inside
Print | Digital | iPad