After a year of online rehearsals, Indigo Mist is back on stage for a set of genre-defying music based on improvisation. Initially the brainchild of 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 faculty, the group is currently comprised of Cuong Vu (trumpet), Richard Karpen (piano), Juan Pampin (electronics), Ted Poor (drums) and Steve Rodby (bass).
Over the last few years, Indigo Mist has been performing solo or with guests artists of the caliber of Bill Frisell and George Garzone. The group has also performed as part of larger improvisation ensembles with players from a wide range of musical backgrounds and cultures such as the JACK Quartet, Jos Zwaanengburg, Ngô Trà My, Garth Knox and others.
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 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 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.
After graduating from the Eastman School of Music in 2003, drummer Ted Poor moved to New York City, where he has made a deep impression on the jazz and improvised music scene. Modern Drummer describes his playing as “adventurous, truly dynamic, and forward-thinking.” Jazz Review writes, “Ted has an uncanny ability to shape the music and a refreshingly unique, organic approach to playing the drums.” This unique approach has caught the ears of many of jazz’s most established musicians and quickly placed him amongst those drummers most in demand.
Ted has toured the world over and is a regular member of many bands, including those of Grammy award winning trumpeter Cuong Vu, guitarist Ben Monder, Bad Touch, and the Respect Sextet. Ted’s most recent project as a leader is called Mt. Varnum. Formed in August of 2011, Mt. Varnum reconciles a life-long love of deep swing with an equally earnest adoration of classic and indie rock. The band’s forthcoming debut release “Wounded Caroline” is a powerful and complete manifestation of that union.
As an in-demand sideman, Ted has appeared on dozens of recordings and has shared the stage with many world renowned artists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bill Frisell, Mark Turner, Chris Potter, Kenny Werner, Maria Schneider, Aaron Parks and Ralph Alessi. As a guest soloist and educator, Poor has held residencies at, among others, the Eastman School of Music, Berklee College of Music, Cal Arts, Lawrence University, the University of Oregon, and the HR Big Band of Frankfurt. He is currently an Assitant Professor at the University of Washington in Seattle.
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.
Juan Pampin is Professor of Music Composition at University of Washington and founding faculty member of the Department of Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS), for which he currently serves as Chair. He 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 music compositions –including pieces for instrumental, electronic, and mixed media– have been performed around the world by world-class soloists and ensembles. His “Percussion Cycle” –recorded by Les Percussions de Strasbourg– has been released on CD by Sargasso Records, London, and his piece “On Space” –for percussion sextet and 3D electronic sounds– was included in the group’s 50th anniversary historical edition box published by Universal France.
Pampin has recently collaborated with composer Richard Karpen and the JACK Quartet to create “Human Subjects”, a large-scale composition exploring new extended performance techniques based on brain and nervous system sensing. This project was hosted by the Meany Center for the Performing Arts and was made possible through the UW Creative Fellowships Initiative with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
MUSIC OF TODAY
The University of Washington School of Music and the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) co-sponsor the Music of Today concert series featuring groundbreaking modern classics and new works by student, faculty and guest composers.