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Jazz Innovations, Part 2

Thursday, November 16, 2023 - 7:30pm
Jazz combo drummer (Photo: Mark Stone)
Jazz combo drummer (Photo: Mark Stone)

Small combos perform original music and arrangements of jazz standards, modern classics, and deep cuts from the popular music repertoire over two consecutive nights of performance. 


Vu Tang Clan 
Cuong Vu - advisor 

Barbados: Charlie Parker 
I Remember Clifford: Benny Golson 
Alice In Wonderland:  Sammy Fain 
500 Miles High: Chick Corea 
Well You Needn’t: Thelonious Monk 
Lily “swing/groove meister, spiritual group leader“ Dropkin, Drums; Cole “the professor/architect, rules setter, and part-time planner/consultant” McKittrick, Guitar; Riley “the TRUTH - Keepin’ in Real” Tobin, Bass; Sebastian d’Almada “Free Spirit” Remedios, Alto Sax; Natalie “Painter/Sculptor/Co-Planner” Song, Piano 

The Mowers 
Steve Rodby - advisor 

Bolivia: Cedar Walton 
Levity: Andrew Friedrich 
Tones For Joan’s Bones: Chick Corea 
Lawns: Carla Bley 
The Intrepid Fox: Freddie Hubbard 
Andrew Friedrich, Guitar; Owen Gwinn, Tenor Sax; Noah Brown, Piano; Beau Wood, Bass; Toby Miller, Drums 

Biographies: Faculty Advisors

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.”

Steve Rodby
Acoustic and electric bassist, audio and video editor and producer Steve Rodby was born in Joliet, Illinois. He began studying classical orchestral bass at age 10, and quickly developed parallel interests in pop and jazz. A graduate of Northwestern University with a degree in classical bass performance, Steve spent many years as a multi-style studio musician on both acoustic and electric bass in Chicago recording studios, while also playing with the leading contemporary classical chamber music group in the city, the University of Chicago's CCP. Playing regularly at the Jazz Showcase also gave him the opportunity to play with numerous jazz masters. In 1981, Steve joined the Pat Metheny Group, and would play with the PMG for 3 decades. Steve also started, in the early 80s, producing records for the PMG and many others, as well as working as a video editor for both PBS music specials and other music DVDs. In all, Steve has won 15 Grammy awards. Recently, Steve has been touring and recording with the international group The Impossible Gentlemen.