Faculty improv band Indigo Mist—Cuong Vu, Richard Karpen, Juan Pampin, Steve Rodby, and Ted Poor—perform experimental and improvised music at Seattle’s Royal Room.
Note: This show is hosted and ticketed by the Royal Room.
Initially the brainchild of electro acoustic pioneer/composer Richard Karpen and Cuong Vu, Indigo Mist has become a vehicle for the musical musings of a group of forward reaching artists with tendencies towards experimentation. Having crossed paths over the years as University of Washington music faculty, the group is currently comprised Vu, Karpen, electro-acoustic composer and DXARTS director Juan Pampin, Ted Poor, whose prodigious drumming has recently been enlisted by Chris Thile and Andrew Bird, and 15 time Grammy winner, bassist/producer Steve Rodby.
Critics have described the Indigo Mist’s 2014 recording as “…gorgeous, far out, haunting, and evocative…In a word: special” (Outside Inside Out), “Mysterious, provocative, fanciful” (Something Else). Stereophile states, “Cuong Vu is a postmodern jazz trumpeter…[pianist/composer] Richard Karpen is director of the School of Music at the University of Washington…When these two got together, the shit hit the fan.”
Cuong Vu is widely recognized by jazz critics as a leader of a generation of innovative musicians. A truly unique musical voice, Cuong has lent his trumpet playing to a wide range of artists such as Pat Metheny, Laurie Anderson, and David Bowie.
As a youngster, Cuong's intense dedication and love for music led him to a full scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music where he received his Bachelor of Music in Jazz studies with a distinction in performance. Transitioning from his studies in Boston, he moved to New York in 1994 and began his career actively leading various groups while touring extensively throughout the world. As a leader, Cuong has released eight recordings, each making critics’ lists of the 10 best recordings of their respective years and has received rave reviews from notable publications such as the New York Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s, the Guardian, BBC Music Magazine, JazzTimes and Downbeat. Each record displays how he has carved out a distinctive sonic territory as a trumpet player, blurring all stylistic borders while developing his own compositional aesthetic and sound world.
Awards and honors that Cuong has garnered include grants from the Royalty Research Foundation, the Donald E. Petersen Professorship, ArtistTrust, 4Culture, CityArts and the Colbert Award for Excellence. Cuong is currently associate professor and chair of Jazz Studies at the University of Washington and was awarded the University of Washington's prestigious Distinguished Teacher Award in his third year on faculty. In 2002 and 2006, Cuong was a recipient of the Grammy for Best Contemporary Jazz Album as a member of the Pat Metheny Group. He’s been recognized as one of the top 50 Jazz Artists in an article called “The New Masters” from the British magazine, “Classic CD” and in 2006 was named the Best International Jazz Artist by the Italian Jazz Critics’ Society. Amazon listed Vu’s “Come Play With Me” on their “The 100 Greatest Jazz Albums of All Time.”
Richard Karpen (b. New York, 1957) is a composer and researcher in multiple areas of music and the arts. His compositions for both electronic media and live performance are widely known, recorded, and performed internationally. Since the early 1980s he has also been in the forefront of the development of computer applications for music composition, interactive performance, and the sonic arts. He is also active as pianist.
Karpen is a Professor of Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) and Music Composition at the University of Washington in Seattle. Also at the UW he was founding Director of DXARTS in 2001 and Director of the School of Music from 2009-2020. He has been the recipient of many awards, grants, and prizes, including those from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bourges Contest in France, and the Luigi Russolo Foundation in Italy. Karpen has composed works for many leading international soloists, such as soprano Judith Bettina, violists Garth Knox and Melia Watras, trombonist Stuart Dempster, flutists Laura Chislett and Jos Zwaanenberg, guitarist Stefan Östersjö, and ensembles such as The Six Tones, JACK Quartet, The Seattle Symphony, and the Harry Partch Ensemble. Karpen is a founding member, with Cuong Vu, of the experimental improvisation ensemble Indigo Mist. As a pianist, Karpen has performed and recorded with Cuong Vu, Bill Frisell, Ted Poor, Steve Rodby, and others. Karpen's compositions and performances have been recorded on a variety of labels including Wergo, Centaur, Neuma, Le Chant du Monde, DIFFUSION i MeDIA, Fleur du Son, Capstone, and RareNoise.
Juan Pampin (b. Buenos Aires, 1967) is Professor of composition at University of Washington and founding faculty member of the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) for which he currently serves as Director.
Pampin received an MA in Composition from Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Lyon, France and a DMA in Composition from Stanford University, where he studied with composer Jonathan Harvey. Juan Pampin's works explore the territory articulated by the concepts of space, memory, and material, using algorithmic composition and signal processing tools of his own development.
Juan Pampin's music compositions, including works for instrumental, digital, and mixed media, have been performed around the world by world-class soloists and ensembles. His work "On Space" –for percussion sextet and 3D electronic sounds– has been recently released on CD as part of Les Percussions de Strasbourg 50th anniversary historical edition box published by Universal France.
Ted Poor is a Seattle-based drummer whose adventurous, soulful playing has vaulted him to the stages of some of today’s most important musicians and placed him amongst those drummers most in demand. After graduating from the Eastman School of Music in 2003, Ted moved from his hometown of Rochester, NY to New York City, where he quickly made a deep impression on its jazz and indie-rock music communities. In his ten years in NYC Ted appeared on dozens of recordings and shared the stage with many world-renowned artists such as Bill Frisell, Pat Metheny, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Cuong Vu, Ben Monder, Myra Melford, Mark Turner, Gabriel Kahane, My Brightest Diamond, Aaron Parks, and Ralph Alessi.
Now a resident of Seattle, Ted has joined the band of Los Angeles based singer/song-writer Andrew Bird; appearing on and touring the albums Are You Serious and My Finest Work Yet (Loma Vista/Concord). As his presence in the Los Angeles music community has grown, Ted has collaborated with producers and artists such as Michel Froom, Blake Mills, Tony Berg and Madison Cunningham – appearing on Cunningham’s recent release Who Are You Now (Verve). Ted also performs regularly on the live radio broadcast of Live From Here with Chris Thile.
In the fall of 2018, Ted signed with record label New Deal (Verve/Universal) and is currently finishing his debut release You Already Know, a collaboration with saxophonist Andrew D’Angelo and producer Blake Mills. Ted is currently an Assistant Professor of Jazz Studies at the University of Washington in Seattle. Ted endorses C&C Drums.