Down Beat (p.52) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "Vu tackles standards and modern pop tunes here all of them with the kind of smoldering, unhurried melodies perfectly suited to the group's slow-burn attack..."
JazzTimes (p.86) - "Vu -- using an unconventional lineup of instruments, a quirky set list and a unique sound that draws from jazz, rock and electronic music -- wants you to know he can do it all, and that he's going to do it all his way."
Personnel: Cuong Vu (trumpet); Luke Bergman, Stomu Takeishi (electric bass); Ted Poor (drums).
Audio Mixer: Luke Bergman.
Recording information: The Chapel Performance Space, Seattle, WA (04/14/2010-04/16/2010).
Trumpeter Cuong Vu built a reputation out of his original compositions and their high levels of ambience and envelopment of the listener. With Leaps of Faith, he moves into the territory of jazz standards, applying sonic methods to constantly recognizable songs until they just break into unrecognizability. With a pair of electric basses, drums, and his own trumpet, Vu and his quartet start the album out by reworking songbook standards "Body and Soul," "All the Things You Are," and "My Funny Valentine" into experimental, looping soundscape versions of their former selves. A couple of originals provide slightly darker, more throbbing compositions and perhaps a nice look at Vu's usual methods for a new listener. The album ends with one more Vu original sandwiched between interesting takes on George Harrison's "Something" and Jackson Browne's "My Opening Farewell" -- slowed-down, almost entrancing versions of their original forms. Between stretched-out trumpet lines and the dual basses, Vu's sound is enveloping, bathing the listener at all times. And it has a strong point to make about the relevance of avant-garde jazz. ~ Adam Greenberg