Exposé Online banner

Cuong Vu 4tet — Change in the Air
(RareNoise RNR091, 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-12-21

Change in the Air Cover art

Trumpeter Cuong Vu’s last outing with his 4tet was the excellent Ballet, which was devoted to the music of Michael Gibbs. With Change in the Air, compositional duties are shared among the players, with Vu, Bill Frisell (guitar), and Ted Poor (drums) each contributing three tunes and Luke Bergman (bass) contributing one. The quality is uniformly high, ranging from moody and meditative to edgy and energetic. My favorites tend to be the more upbeat pieces, like Bergman’s “Must Concentrate,” which starts out with a dual-guitar rhythmic motif that’s a bit like something Pat Metheny might have done in the early 80s, but then builds up to a grand climax. My overall favorite is “March of the Owl and the Bat,” a Vu composition that features Frisell’s most aggressive playing. The insistent rhythmic pattern, which is only very loosely related to a typical march, leads to some great work between the bass and drums. Some of the less energetic tunes have a pleasant wandering feeling, with the guitar and trumpet weaving around each other and Frisell dipping into the atmospheric folk-influenced sound he does so well. “All That’s Left of Me Is You” is a piece from Poor that sounds almost like a lost standard, something Miles Davis might have interpreted back in the 50s. Cuong Vu’s 4tet is an engaging ensemble, and Change in the Air is another great effort for them, a distinctive flavor of modern jazz that differentiates itself even though it doesn’t break with tradition in any extreme ways.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): Bill Frisell, Cuong Vu

More info
http://music.cuongvu.com/album/change-in-the-air

Latest news

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more

2020-01-10
Neil Peart RIP – One of rock music's defining drummers has died at the age of 67. Neil Peart's work with Rush provided one of the templates for percussion in rock, and he certainly ranks in the top ten most influential drummers of the 20th Century. Peart retired from playing in 2015 due to health issues, and succumbed to brain cancer on January 7, 2020. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Genre Peak - Ends of the Earth – Genre Peak is the trio of Martin Birke (vocals, drum programming, percussion), Daniel Panasenko (Stick, upright bass), and Stephen Sullivan (guitar, guitar synth, backing vocals). I reviewed an album...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues