Thomas Morgan acoustic bass
Tyshawn Sorey drums, bass trombone (5 and 7)
Billy Mintz drums, congas (2)
Rema Hasumi voice (2, 5, 7, 8)
Recorded October 2016 at Sear Sound
Engineered by Aya Merrill
Mixed by Owen Mulholland
Mastered by Luis Bacque
Album artwork from Swindon Viewpoint
Design by Karol Stolarek
- Extensive Todd Neufeld interview about Mu'U and more - Jakob Baekgaard, All About Jazz
- "Articulated scenic creation from contemporary fusion, while not ignoring the avant-jazz, Mu'U's dramatic sequencing has a propensity for the lyrical vein; freely constructive, semi-informal, this leader test seems to be convincing and charismatic." - Aldo Del Noce, Jazz Convention
- "This disc features a subtle, detailed, sometimes pointillistic song; at other times, in collective involvement, the group feeds subtle crescendos, never bursting. Neufeld's guitar has a controlled, sometimes atmospheric sound. It is the guitar that is in the center of the disc, leading the group to an interpretation of the nine original songs." -Nuno Catarino, Bodyspace
- Neufeld "has a specific signature about guitar work... In short: a guitarist with a clear technical language, but also someone who takes the necessary freedom as an artist, both in terms of sound (color) and composition... This is chamber music is where you really have to take your time. It takes a lot of effort, but at the end of the ride you are rewarded doubly and fat." - Philipped De Cleen, Written in Music
- "There is a lot of space within this music, it doesn’t feel cluttered, and every sound has a distinct role and purpose. It is thoughtfully put together and the essence of this is clear to see in ‘Entrance’, the shortest piece on the album... carefully and delicately accompanied by percussion like a miniature watercolour. With everything laid bare it feels that this is the beating heart of the music, the modus operandi, the inner workings that belies all the music on Mu’u." - Chris Haines, Free Jazz Blog
- "It is shown that some music is not just made to be labeled... the music has been put together with much care, the interplay is subtle, much respect is given to the space, the sound, and the essence that is exposed. Whoever wants to make trouble, finds in Mu'U a very successful debut of an artist who does not need to make a hassle to immediately define his own corner." - Guy Peters, Enola
"Mu'U" is the much-awaited debut of guitarist and composer Todd Neufeld. With a completely singular voice on the guitar, Neufeld's approach to the instrument and interpretive sense explores deeply subtle shadings of musical locations -- neither here nor there, but tender explorations in-between and on the edges of expectation.
Through his participation in Tyshawn Sorey's Koan and Oblique-I albums, his extended relationship with the late legendary Japanese pianist Masabumi Kikuchi, and his playing under bandleader ranging from Lee Konitz to Tony Malaby, Neufeld has honed his improvising and interpretive conception. But, it isn't until "Mu'U" that the listening public can hear his vision as a leader.
The album features a deep and broad range of musical terrain. For the journey Neufeld enlisted a special ensemble of players in this unique two-drums ensemble, all of whom with he shares a long-standing relationship. The infamous Tyshawn Sorey himself participates on drums and in a rare performance on bass trombone. Billy Mintz, a veteran poet-drummer fills the other drum chair. Mintz and Sorey occupy polar drum conceptions, yet have a deep core and overlapping intuitive priority to sound, space and silence. The combination and interplay is magical. On bass is Thomas Morgan, an already legendary player with whom Neufeld has been playing for over 15 years, in duo, trio, with Kikuchi, Sorey and many other settings. Finally, the voice of Rema Hasumi brings a deep centering presence to the proceedings. Her recitations on "Contraction" as well as vocal performances on "Echo's Bones," "Novo Voce" and "Kira" all give a unique expanse and signature to the music.
Finally, it's Neufeld's guitar whose play between lyricism and grit leads the turns and bursts of the music. "Mu'U" is a deeply personal and ambitious album from a new leader in today's music.