During the 1990s, jazz trumpeter Cuong Vu gained increasing recognition as a great young talent through his work with some of the decade's top avant-jazz musicians, in addition to leading some quality projects of his own. Born into a musical family in Vietnam (his mother was a Vietnamese pop singer and his father was a multi-instrumentalist), Vu and his mother moved to the U.S. and settled in Seattle, WA, when he was six years old. He became enamored with the saxophone, one of his father's instruments, and finally asked his mother for a trumpet when he was 11. Vu was later awarded a scholarship at the New England Conservatory of Music, where he studied under Joe Maneri, who had a big influence on Vu. While studying in Boston, he was also positively affected by local improvised music act the Fringe. After graduating with a B.A. in jazz studies, Vu moved to New York, where he continued to reside. He has performed with many of the top experimental jazz musicians, including trumpeter Dave Douglas, bassists Mark Helias and Dougie Bowne, and drummers Gerry Hemingway and Bobby Previte, to name just a few. Vu was also a member of Orange Then Blue during the early '90s, as well as Jeff Song's Lowbrow. In addition to these projects, Vu has led his own bands, including Scratcher and Vu-Tet. March 2000 brought the release of his album Bound (featuring percussionist Jim Black, keyboardist Jamie Saft, and bassist Stomu Takeishi) on the Brooklyn-based label OmniTone. The same fall, Pure was released.