Cuong Vu Pure

Pure is very much in keeping with the kind of records Knitting Factory has released throughout its 15-year history; combining forward jazz with contemporary rock trends. In this case, the slow momentum of bands like Godspeed You Black Emperor! sets the pace. The format is the power trio: Vu plays trumpet con molto electronics, John Hollenbeck drums and Stomu Takeishi plays the electric bass. Pure is not Miles away from being this decade's Live At The Fillmore, but it doesn't have the fury of Miles' first live electric recording, but stoner rock fans will enjoy it just as much. Each of the six tunes mutate an initial idea, usually just a riff, or an unassumingly poppy melody, into a monster jam. There are many moments when it sounds as though Vu is going off the deep-end into schmaltz, only to develop minor parts of the theme into unlikely grooves. His tone and lyricism reminds one of Kenny Wheeler, at first, but he'll get into pure sonics as things heat up. Drummer Hollenbeck adeptly finds ways to deconstruct repetitive rhythms from the delays created by the other two members. All three members have a great sense of pace, so even a 17-minute track like "I Shall Never Come Back" doesn't lag. This shouldn't take anything away from Vu, though. He has created a compositional strategy with himself in the lead that suits his playing better than many of his appearances as a sideman. (Knitting Factory)