Interview with Cuong Vu
(with Frank Tafuri)
Frank Tafuri: So here
we are getting ready to release your debut record as a
leader on OmniTone, which is billing itself as having adventurous
and listenable music, and admittedly proudly proclaiming
itself as a jazz label. And you've said to me, a couple
of times, that you don't even really like jazz. So I guess,
I wonder what you mean by that, and how it is, for someone
that says they don't really like jazz, that you came to
be associated with this project [or sitting here today].
Cuong Vu: That's a
big question. Ok, first. Hmm. The reason why it's hypocritical,
or a paradox, is because, people consider what I do jazz.
Simply, because I think it's got a lot of improvisation
in it. And it's almost like any time you improvise, they're
going to label it jazz. People don't realize that all musics
have improvisation in it, like back in Beethoven and Mozart's
time those guys were improvisers. Composition is really
improvising, but you can fix it. Different from on-the-spot,
what-it-is is what-it-is. And then, the other aspect of
when I say I don't like jazz, is that I have a really specific,
ingrained idea of what jazz is, and that comes out of being
in high school, and hearing Wynton and all those people,
Stanley Crouch and all those people, talking about "jazz" over
and over and over, and declaring what jazz is, and saying
that —essentially, a lot of times they would say
that whatever white musicians did wasn't jazz. So then
after a while, of hearing that, I felt like, ok, so what
I do isn't jazz. (Laughs) But then there is another part
to that —I studied jazz simply because I played trumpet,
and I wanted to play "un-classical" music, 'cause
I wanted to improvise. So in high school, they have jazz
programs and you go into the jazz band and you play jazz.
Tafuri: So that was
the alternative, basically.
Vu: Yeah, but my teachers
would give me jazz records and I didn't really like them,
and all I really listened to was fusion. And that's not
really jazz —we'd have to sit there and define what
jazz is —for any of this to make sense….
Tafuri: Well, "jazz" is
a lot of things to a lot of different people…
Vu: Yeah, it's just
such a broad term now, that it doesn't really matter what
I say, really, but when I say "jazz" I mean,
like, music that's not really forward-looking, and it's
become dogmatic. Like just "licks" and "style," and
copping what's been done.
Tafuri: The word [describing
that] that I've been using for our other OmniTone releases
is "re-creationist," basically.
Vu: Yeah. And even
when I hear music that I think is creative and very in
the idiom, it's still bothers me to a point, because of
all that stuff that I experienced in college and with Wynton
and his whole thing, I just have this hate for that music,
so if there is anything that starts to have a sound similar
to that sound, it makes me not want to like it. But if
I like the person, I'll listen to it with more open ears,
and appreciate it.
Tafuri: So it almost
sounds like the hang-up is not so much with the music,
whatever the music is, whatever "jazz" is, or
the "concept", but more with the term, and a
particular positioning of the term.
Vu: Yeah, and also
the attitude within that scene. The straight-ahead scene —I
just remember being in college, and practicing, and, I
practiced a lot in college, eight hours a day, of just
trumpet, and then on the piano, learning my harmony, doing
all that stuff, and meanwhile I didn't really like the
music, but my teachers were "you have to learn bebop
in order to be a legitimate musician." So, being stupid,
I did! And I didn't realize that you can draw from a lot
of different types of music —cause music is music —you
learn how music works, and you just do it, it doesn't have
to be through bebop. And then I met Joe [Maneri] —and
also, I heard the Fringe [George Garzone, John Lockwood,
Bob Gulotti] and they blew my mind because they were playing
totally improvised music and I hadn't really heard that
kind of thing before,-- and then I met Joe and he pushed
me further into re-evaluating what I did and what all this "jazz" is
all about, and I decided I wanted to explore other musics,
and that the best way for me to do that was by improvisation
and trying not to be any one kind of style, and while I
was doing that, a lot of the jazz players started looking
down at us, or just kind of putting down what Jamie [Saft]
and I were trying to do, and sort of discrediting us and
saying that we were just bullshit. And that fed the "I
hate jazz" and "I hate jazz people" —so
many of them were not open-minded, so close-minded, that
they can't see, that just because I'm not playing over
chord changes or playing the licks that I've practiced
10 hours a day, that my music is legitimate.
Tafuri: There definitely
is a factionalism in the music —I've worked in a
lot of different areas, as a presenter, as a manager, as
a record representative, and now as the owner/manager of
a record company, I see that —and I kind of feel
that as an advocate for the music, creative music/adventurous
jazz, that there is that factionalism —that's one
of the things that's maybe keeping some of the more creative
elements of it down. Everybody wants their little slice
of the pie, and we're talking about a little slice to begin
with! So they want their few crumbs, you know? I hear what
Well, having said that, a question that I would have is:
Have you been influenced by any "jazz" players?
Vu: Yeah, I think it's
impossible not to be influenced by anything that you submerge
yourself in completely and try to study all day, listening,
analyzing, practicing and learning. We can't not be influenced,
and a lot of what I'm trying to do these days is trying
to I'm always trying to develop my own voice, or find my
own voice, and trying to find something that really just
mine —that you can't really categorize, so you can't
say "he sounds like this/he sounds like that." But,
those things are always going to be in my fingers —you
know, my kinetic memory —it's always going to be
in my head, so a lot of time I'm going to play stuff that
sound jazzy. And I try not to, but when you hear things,
you just have to go for it.
Jazz players that I've been influenced by, when my teachers
made me study jazz, I listened to a lot of different people,
but the main people were Miles, Clifford Brown, and Lee
Morgan. So, if there is any real jazz trumpet influence,
it would be those three guys.
Tafuri: I wasn't necessarily
meaning jazz trumpet, because lots of times you hear jazz
pianists who say they were influenced by saxophone lines.
Vu: Yeah. But at that
time I was really trying to understand the trumpet in the
bebop thing. So by the time when I decided that I didn't
want to do that any more…
Tafuri: It was already
part of you, on some level…
Vu: Yeah, and then,
when I listened to other jazz instruments with a more open
mind, at that point, that kind of influence wasn't happening.
It was more about just checking out how they dealt with
things conceptually, and not really copping their way of
doing things, their way they interweave their lines for
example. So from that point until now, it's like, the influence —any
influence I have now is purely conceptual. And it's not "sound-influenced" and
it's not "style-influenced" —it's not "the
meat and potatoes," it's like the concept of "eating."
Tafuri: Right. I got
you. I guess something I've got to bring up now, and it's
probably as good of a time as any, is that, so often, when
I've seen your name mentioned or when people talk about
you, or whatever, they talk about you as a protégé,
or a disciple (if people use that strong a word), of Dave
Douglas. And I guess it's important that people really
understand, if not once and for all, at least clearly,
what your relationship is with Dave.
Vu: Ok, influence wise,
I met Dave when playing with [George Schuller's] Orange
Then Blue, in college, before I met Joe [Maneri]. And he
was one of the guys that made me go, "Wow, there's
a lot more to music than just playing licks and jazz." Because
he just played. He had all these different angles, in dealing
with how he would solo, and just his attitude of being
completely in command and going for it, that was his main
influence on me. Once I got back from the Orange Then Blue
tour, every single solo that I took had that attitude to
it. But, when people talk about being influenced by him
and sounding like him, it boggles my mind because I'll
listen to the both of us, and I don't hear it, and my peers
that I work with a lot don't hear it, and I doubt that
Dave hears it. I've never asked him straight out, I've
said people are comparing me to you and he just laughs —I
think maybe he gets a kick out of it, too.
Tafuri: Well. It's
interesting to listen to the two of you on Sanctuary, on
different channels, so you can really A/B what's going
on there, and it's obviously very different. You're playing
in the same pieces, and you're all part of the same grooves,
yet there is still a very distinct sound between the two
Vu: I think so, and
I think maybe people can't see the subtle differences,
because the trumpet is a pretty restrictive instrument,
it's not that malleable, and if I played notes where the
harmonic language is atonal, Dave and I might prefer the
same intervals, and that confuses people. But our phrasings
are different —completely —he plays things
that I would never play —and I play things that he
would never play, though we really dig each other. If I
play "off-horn," they might say, "oh, he
sounds just like Herb Robertson." It's just because
the sound isn't as diverse, I think.
Vu: Yeah, they call
it "off-horn," as in extended technique. "Not-normal" sounds,
squeaks, growls, etc. And Herb and Dave have been around,
and people know who they are, they don't know who I am,
and so if they hear me squeak, it's "(finger snap)
Herb Robertson!" [Laughs] Or, if I'm playing a blur
of notes, it's "(snap) Don Cherry!" What the
hell is that?
Tafuri: That's the
need for people to label and put hooks on things. It will
be interesting to see the reaction people will have to
(both people with open ears and the "establishment")
to this new record Bound, cause there are so
many things that come together in it. When we were in the
studio, I hadn't really heard the final concept of the
music —it was new to me, and even then we really
didn't hear it till we got to the mixing stage. But you
have these grand, arching themes in a couple of your pieces,
that are almost heroic, or a very "Americana" kind
of thing, and to apply a term that others might understand,
I'm going to say Aaron Copland even, and so I guess if
your influences are outside of jazz, (in jazz and outside
of jazz), what kind of influences do you have that are
outside of jazz, that went into the music and into Bound?
Vu: Again I think it's
all about the concept, really, of just going about getting
something that you want, and I think if it sounds like
something [else], that's a by-product. I'm not out to cop
a sound. You might say Copland, somebody else might say…
Tafuri: Just as a point
of reference, basically.
Vu: Sure. I don't mind
being labeled that way as much as to individual jazz players.
But I've never checked out Aaron Copland's music. I've
heard some of his main works in "music survey history," and
I didn't particularly love it. I would say that the people
that I've checked out the most were the Schoenberg and
post-Schoenberg school, and then Mozart and Beethoven.
Tafuri: I know you're
a Beethoven fan.
Vu: Big Beethoven fan.
So, that's kind of a good example of how maybe people could
say I sound like Dave, or Don, or Herb, or something. It's
just the by-product of what I'm trying to do, and I'm not
really influenced —
Tafuri: Well, ok. But
maybe not consciously, but as you said before, when stuff
goes through you —
Vu: Yeah, but I've
made a conscious effort to not listen to Dave and Herb
too much, cause I do love their playing. And when I love
somebody's playing a lot, I'll listen to it too much, and
sub-consciously it'll soak in, and I knew that I didn't
want to be tagged in that way, so I have not listened to
them on purpose. I go to their gigs if I feel that they
need the support, but Dave is at the point where all these
people are at his gigs all the time, he doesn't need me
there! Maybe he'll want to run something by me if he's
really proud of it, and I'll give him the support that
way, but I don't want to be influenced that much.
Tafuri: Well, I almost
don't know where to go now, because one of the pieces that
I really liked that was part of your session, was the one
where you mentioned the name Charles Ives.
Vu: Yeah, that's the
burner. And that's concept —I didn't use his harmonic
language or his rhythmic language, I just used the idea
that he liked to have two or three or even more things
going on at the same time. And that sounds easy ("ok,
lets have two things going on at the same time"),
and a lot of times when you do that it'll sound like shit.
So, the idea was to have that approach and figure out,
for me, how that's gonna work, how I'm gonna make it work.
Tafuri: That's the
idea of the process, I think. The influence that you have
is more from the process, and not even necessarily the
methodology —you develop your own methodology.
Vu: Exactly —And
the process that you come up with yourself, it's just —Ives
did this —oh really? Listen to it —wow, that's
really cool —how did he come up with that? I didn't
go and read and figure out how he thought about it, and
emulate exactly what he did. You can't do that, so I said, "Ok,
I'm just going to try this idea and see how am I going
to make it work for me" —or, "This can
work on this tune."
Tafuri: And it sounds
like you did enough of that "dissection and reconstruction" in
college. Not really in classical music, but as in all those
trumpet players, as in the jazz study thing.
Vu: Yeah, and I found
it to be useless. For me. A lot of jazz teachers say that
it's a key to emulate a great figure and I don't agree.
I think that kept me back. But then again maybe that was
a key to my understanding that that's not what I want to
Tafuri: Well, my motto
is: Do something. Because if you do something and you hate
it, at least you know what you don't like.
I'm going to ask you a question that probably if you were
an established artist I wouldn't ask. Forgive me, but you're
new and people don't know who you are real well. How did
you get into music? How did that come about?
Vu: Well, my Mom and
my Dad were both musicians in Viet Nam. And my Mom was
on her way to be, like, a Vietnamese pop star. We all knew
about her and she was like this budding singer. My Dad
played all kinds of instruments, played with all kinds
of bands. And they met, and they played music together…
Tafuri: In more ways
Vu: And the war interfered
with that. But I was around that —all the time, my
Mom was always singing, my Dad was always playing, and
I would go —and I remember my first impression —I
was really little, but my Dad took me to a rehearsal and
I sat right in front of the bass drum, and feeling the
power of the vibrations, everything was so loud —you
know when someone's hammering away and your eyes blink? —you
just feel it, and I felt it like that —I couldn't
get that out of my mind —that was the attraction
to music then, the effect it had on me.
Tafuri: Very visceral.
Vu: Yeah. And then
at home my Dad had a keyboard and I just made sounds. He
would teach me things. So I've always wanted to play —I
was banging on things, and listening to the radio and playing
along with it.
Tafuri: What kind of
music did your Dad play? [Was it ethnic music?]
Vu: It was Vietnamese
pop music. It's basically —you know, Vietnamese ethnic
music is pentatonic (that's the easiest and most surface
way to explain it) but then, you know they were colonized
by the French, so all that influence came, and then the
American influence, so you just take the pentatonic and
put it into a pop sound. That's what they did.
Tafuri: So it sounds
like even your early musical references were already a
kind of composite, or uncatagorizable in a lot of ways.
So that's how you got attracted to the music, but how did
you get to the trumpet?
Vu: That's a funny
story. Fate. Because my Dad played both trumpet and saxophone,
but I —when we left Viet Nam, my Dad stayed behind,
to take care of his family, and my Mom and my sister and
I came over to be with my Mom's big family.
Tafuri: How old were
Vu: I was five. And
I always had this picture of him playing the saxophone,
thinking, this is my Dad, he plays the saxophone, and this
is the shit! And it looked so cool, and the word for saxophone,
and trumpet, is just "horn." You'd say, the horn-saxophone
or the horn-trumpet. And I was, "I want to play the
horn!," meaning the "horn-saxophone." And
my Mom went out and bought a "horn-trumpet." (Laughs)
I tried to play it, I couldn't play it, and five years
later my Dad came over, and he said, "ok, we have
a trumpet, why don't you just do it?" So I went and
I practiced, joined the band, and bla bla bla, and I was
really good for my age and just had a knack for learning
the instrument, better than most kids. So by the time I
figured out that I didn't like the trumpet, which was two
years later, I thought it was too late to change, cause
I was already too good! (Laughs)
Tafuri: Boy, this is
Wagnerian in scope, man! What a love/hate thing!
Vu: In junior high
and college, I hated it, but everybody was, "wow,
he's gonna be great, wow wow wow!" And I didn't have
very good self-esteem, so anything I could grasp on to
that was positive, I would hold on to it with dear life,
and inflate it, so I was, "I'm a good trumpet player —it's
way too late for me to change instruments now." And
you know, I really wanted to play pop music —I wanted
to play guitar, or drums, or sing, or whatever.
Tafuri: So do you still
hate the trumpet?
Vu: I hate the fact
that I can't play it as well as I would want to —it's
a pain in the ass. The trumpet is a pain in the ass. And
I hate a lot of the things that come out of it, but the
good thing about it is, it makes me —and this is
what we were talking about before —when you know
that you hate something it makes you find something different
that you might like about it. So I think that that contributes
to the fact that I sound different. I don't have Dave Douglas
chops, I also don't like a lot of the things that the trumpet
sounds like, so I'm trying to find things that I like about
it. So it's cool.
Tafuri: Is that part
of the reason why you use electronics?
Vu: Well part of the
reason is because I want to be able to fit into this music
which is mostly electrified. And also, trumpet, to me,
sounds really cheesy because of what Herb Alpert and Chuck
Mangione did over pop music. And any time I play that,
it's "God, I sound like Herb Alpert and Mangione," even
though I didn't listen to them. That's the same thing like
people thinking I sound like Dave. Same kind of thing.
So, I want to be able to play in that kind of context and
the electronics help it a little more. The only trumpet
that sounds good over pop music is Earth Wind and Fire
type music,, but you can't really solo that way all the
Tafuri: Kool and the
Tafuri: So it isn't
so much that you're trying to find different sounds, or
expand the range of the trumpet, as you were talking about
earlier how restrictive it is in many ways.
Vu: It is, but I still
try to find different things —just because I don't
like to do things that have been done over and over and
over. I don't like hype, I don't like the norm.
Tafuri: Well, how do
you keep doing that?
Vu: By improvising
with people who you think are boundary-pushers. I think
the key in the development in what I do with improvisation,
is finding the right people, that push me and also have
the same ideas about shape, and form.
Tafuri: Well, how long
have you been here in NY?
Vu: Going on six years.
Tafuri: And before
that up in Boston?
Tafuri: So how do you
think being in New York has affected your playing?
Vu: I think it's made
me refine more and more, and figure out more and more what
I like, and refine that. But in terms of exploring, I think
the most exciting time for me was my time with Joe [Maneri],
and finding new things about music.
Tafuri: While you were
still in school [New England Conservatory].
Vu: Yeah. And right
now I'm going through a stage of really making what I do
at this period as good as it can be. Once that happens
I'll be bored and I'll search again.
Tafuri: So you really
do work on a series of plateaus, from one to —
Vu: —and then "oh
God, I suck! I better practice, I better find something
Tafuri: It's all aversion,
that's what it is! The aversion principle!
Well, do mind if we talk about some of the tunes and the
album? I've played the opener for quite a few people and
it just knocked their eyes out. It was "Two."
Vu: "Two." The
name comes from a lack of imagination. (Laughs) It was
the second piece that I was working on, at that time, for
a specific concept. And also, it turned out to be kind
of a good name cause —before I was working on that
concept —I was doing a lot of work with the quintet
that I had with Chris Speed, Curtis Hasselbring, and Jim
Black, and that was really my exploration of things that
I found fascinating about Schoenberg, and that school.
So it was very atonal, and chamber, and very —more
polyphony —all the voices were their own melodies,
and in the way they came together there was a lot of counterpoint,
but I felt like it was too much to work with at the same
time and that I was in over my head. But I felt like I
did a good job —but when I wrote "Two" it
was like I was stripping it down to two lines, and really
figure counterpoint for myself. Not counterpoint that I
learned in college, just different ideas of counterpoint.
And I was also working with two ideas, two motives, that
I was working with. So it's like two, and two, and the
second tune, two. Couldn't figure out what else to call
Tafuri: Well, it works
on several levels. That solo was phenomenal in there! It
keeps going and going and going.
Vu: Yeah, I like that.
A lot of times I surprise myself, because, a lot of times
when I'm playing, and after a gig, I'll go "God I
suck! This sucks!" —and then I listen back and
realize "Hey, that was pretty good." I learned
that from my Dad —I learned how to hate myself from
my Dad. But then when I look at it from behind, I like
Tafuri: One of those
themes, one that I really liked, is "Our Bridge." Is
there a story behind that one?
Vu: Kind of. I wrote
that in college -- it was influenced by Sting. I wrote
it while I was home [Seattle] on summer break, but during
college. It was the summer after my first year away, and
before I went away, I had never gone away —I was
a total Mama's boy. I felt some fear about leaving the
nest and I was really worried that she couldn't deal with
not having me around to take care of things. It was
completely idiotic cause now I realize that she's given
me everything —that she's the one that kept me going —
Tafuri: So your father's
no longer around?
Vu: He's somewhere,
but he's not part of our lives. So I was writing it [Our
Bridge], and it was close to the end of summer, and I knew
I had to go back to Boston, and I was really sad. So I
wrote this sad song. But it was after I had hung out with
one of my best friends who —it was traumatic for
both of us for me to leave as well. It crushed him and
it crushed me. We went out and hung out at a spot that
we usually hang out at, there's this bridge, that goes
over the water, and it's actually I-90, which starts in
Seattle and ends in Boston. So that's what connected us —he
says, "Whenever I miss you I come down here and I
look at this bridge, cause that's what connects us." Now
that's a good title. That's one of those titles that —"Hey,
it means something!"
Tafuri: Both of them
so far mean something.
Vu: Well, if I would
have named it like "Two" I would have named it,
like, "Sad." Something depressed. (laughs)
Tafuri: Well, there
are a couple that are particularly intriguing here. One
of them is "Acid Kiss."
Vu: That name really
could have worked for anything. It was one of those things
where you look at something, and it looks cool. It comes
from a poem called "Battery Acid Kiss From a Stranger," and
it's a friend of Holly's [Holly Palmer] who wrote it, and
I did that tune with her reading poetry. Kind of a reading/rapping,
controlling the dynamics of the band. So I stripped it
down, cause I didn't want to pay any money for the words!
Tafuri: Very pragmatic!
How about "Still Ragged?"
Vu: "Still Ragged." I
wrote that, and my cat was bothering me —he always
bothers me, he needs to be around me all the time —and
he was all over the place, and the tune is in a meter that's
really uneven, and the melody, the way it goes together
with the bass line, just sounds almost like it's gonna
break apart. It's a ragged thing Still Ragged.
Tafuri: Did that have
anything to do with the name of the group that you had?
Vu: Yeah, kind of,
the previous group was called Ragged Jack, which is named
after the same cat, Jack.
Tafuri: It's your cat?
Vu: Yeah, my cat is
a big part of my life, and he's a big pain in the ass.
And I wrote this tune, and I was going to do it with Jamie
in our band Ragged Jack, but our band broke up because
of personnel problems. And I wanted to call it "Ragged
Jack" but we thought if we did that the ex-members
might be hurt, so I thought let's call it "Still Ragged." So
it's still Ragged Jack but not Ragged Jack.
Tafuri: Yet another
bridge. You do this tune on here, and I guess this is your
vocal debut on record too, isn't it? "Bound." And
you mentioned her previously —Holly Palmer. How did
this association come about? And now a tune of hers is
on the album.
Vu: Yeah. She's one
of my best friends ever. I met her in high school. She
went to a different school —all the high schools
in my area [Seattle] had really good jazz programs, and
the first time I saw her, she sang with her [high school]
big band, and I could not believe how good she was. I thought, "She's
gonna be a star." Unbelievable. Kicked my ass. At
that time I was always comparing myself to everybody, and
wanting to be better. And she kicked my ass —and
not only that —she's also a really good-looking girl,
so I wanted to get to know her. And we kept on running
into each other, and we hooked up, as friends. We had a
mutual respect for one another's musical abilities, so
we stayed friends through college, and she came to Boston,
mainly because I told her that she needed to get out of
that area if she wants to be anything. And she came to
Boston and we lived together, I always wanted to work with
her, but at that time I was studying jazz, and —well
she was also studying jazz, but she was going to be a pop
star. And I wanted to do pop music too but I didn't know
how yet. And so many years later, after talking about how
we're going to work with each other, I couldn't figure
out how we could do it. And not having me play "pop" music,
which I felt like I wouldn't be able to fit in, and not
really be able to explore. And I didn't want her to "scooby
doodoo" on my music. So it took a while, but now I
finally figured out how to put those two musics together.
And I think "Bound" is a good example of that.
Of how pop music can also be really avant-garde and creative
at the same time.
Tafuri: And nice vocals,
Vu: I sang in high
school. I had a cover band. We did Duran Duran, Police,
and I sang and played keyboards. And I've always wanted
to sing, but was too chicken. And I was going to have her
sing on the record, but it was apparent that she was going
to be too busy at this time to work a lot, so I thought,
well, I'm going to have to take over the chair, because
I wrote all these pieces that I was going to do in this
band with her. For a while that idea was in my head —that
I have to practice singing, and I want to sing, and after
practicing for a while I felt, "I'm not going to do
this —I suck," and I was going to ask her to
sing on the record, but then I felt if I did that I would
be chickening out. And whenever I feel like I'm chickening
out, I need to overcome that fear. Cause it's only fear.
So that's why I did it.
Tafuri: That aversion
thing again. Averting fear this time. A powerful motivating
force in you life. How about "The Drift"?
Vu: That piece was
influenced by Madonna. I wrote that in college, too. The
way we did it originally doesn't sound anything like the
version now. Cause now we have a really good grasp of free
improvisation and also how to use the tune without being
restricted the way a lot of jazz people are restricted
by the tunes that they play.
Tafuri: So yet another
example that something with a more "pop" sound
can have some meat on it.
Vu: Yeah. The key is
just finding out how to open it up, and discovering what
is important about the tune that we have to work on as
a motive in the improv.
Tafuri: Where is Cuong
Vu going now? What monster is behind him, motivating him
Vu: Well the big motivation
now is to be able to make any kind of music that I want
to. But before can I do that I have to produce music that
people want to listen to. And that record labels want to
put out. So that's motivating me right now. Eventually
it would be great to just do anything that I want to do,
cause I don't know who's going to come into my life, will
make me want to "not be like him or her," or
give me a concept that I don't want to have! (laughs) I
don't know what I'll be averting next. Things change every
minute. I change my mind a lot. I don't know —I just
want to be able to do what I want to do. I don't want to
be an unhappy sideman, I don't want to do stupid gigs.
I just want to hang, and chill, and have fun.
Tafuri: I think we
got it. One more question that I often ask: If you could
have a band of any players, from anywhere, living or dead,
who would be in that band?
Vu: It's the group
that you have on your label. [on Bound]
Those guys are the baddest. People can say John Coltrane,
and I say, Jamie Saft, and Stomu Takeishi.