The Studio Jazz Ensemble (Marc Seales, director) performs big band arrangements and repertory selections. The Modern Band (Cuong Vu, director) performs innovative arrangements of jazz standards, selections from the outer limits of the genre, and new original compositions.
Masks are required in all indoor spaces on the UW campus, and patrons must show proof of vaccination or recent (within 72 hours of the performance) negative COVID-19 test for entry to live events at Meany Hall. Enhanced sanitation measures and touchless ticketing are among other safety measures in effect for 2021-22. Details of these policies and procedures are at: https://artsevents.washington.edu/covid-protocols
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.”
A noted pianist, composer and leading figure in the Northwest jazz scene, Marc Seales has shared stages with many of the great players of the last two decades. He has played with nearly every visiting jazz celebrity from Joe Henderson and Art Pepper to Benny Carter, Mark Murphy, and Bobby Hutcherson. With the late Don Lanphere he performed in such places as London, England; Kobe, Japan; The Hague in the Netherlands; and the North Sea Jazz Festival.
The musicians he admires most are Herbie Hancock, Charlie Parker, John Lewis, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Wynton Kelly, though he is quick to acknowledge that he owes the basically be-bop/post be-bop sound of his playing to his mentors, Don Lanphere and Floyd Standifer.
Critics have praised Seales variously for his "meaty piano solos," and "blues inflected, Hancock-inspired modernism." Winner of numerous Earshot awards (Instrumentalist of the Year in 1999 and Acoustic Jazz Group in 2000 and 2001; Jazz Hall of Fame, 2009), Seales is today promoting jazz awareness and molding young talents as a Professor of Music at the University of Washington, where he is a professor in the Jazz Studies Program. He teaches an array of courses, including History of Jazz, Jazz Piano, and Beginning and Advanced Improvisation, as well as leading various workshops and ensembles.