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Ballet (The Music of Michael Gibbs)
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2017 release. On the heels of his acclaimed 2016 recording, Cuong Vu Trio Meets Pat Metheny and his 2014 collaboration with electro-acoustic pianist-composer and Director of the School of Music at the University of Washington Richard Karpen on their Ellington-Strayhorn tribute That The Days Go By And Never Come Again, trumpeter-composer Cuong Vu joins forces with guest guitarist Bill Frisell on Ballet, a tribute to renowned composer-arranger Michael Gibbs. With regular Vu 4Tet bassist Luke Bergman and drummer Ted Poor, the four exchange ideas in the moment in a collective fashion on the expansive opening track, "Ballet," which gradually morphs into a kind of quirky, dissonant blues waltz featuring brilliant solos from Vu and Frisell. Regarding this exhilarating Vu 4Tet project, Vu says, "This was a very collective/equal opportunity effort, so we just played and dealt with the cards collectively as they were dealt. I think it just comes down to the collection of players and our individual aesthetics coming together and trying to find a common goal/language." They succeed in triumphant fashion on Ballet, the second collaboration between Cuong Vu and Bill Frisell (their first was Vu's 2005 ArtistShare album Mostly Residual).
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Unfortunately the recording quality is terrible. The overall sound is kind of hazy and flat - it was a live recording, yes, but that is no excuse these days. The bottom two or three octaves of bass are just not there, the bass line is barely audible. The drums are also way in the background, missing both the highs and the lows, and sounding kind of cardboardy.
I bought the vinyl version, and know what good vinyl sounds like, and this ain't it.