Here's an enticing prospect. Jazz iconoclasts Mostly Other People Do The Killing re-interpret a classic album beloved by millions of people the world over, lending it a unique MOPDTK spin and rendering it totally unrecognisable. A brave move.The album in question? It's Joni Mitchell's Blue (Reprise, 1971), an iconic slice of Laurel Canyon lushness, the starting point for generations of misty-eyed romantic entanglements. MOPDTK take Mitchell's tales of love and kick them as far out of Laurel Canyon as possible -no vocal, altered rhythms, new harmonies, previously unused instruments, a reduced track list (from ten to five), re-worked ...read more
Imagine coming home from work to find the furniture in your house was moved and say, your tooth brush is now on the other side of the bathroom sink. A few inches here, and a few inches there. Would you notice? Maybe yes, if you had been gone just a day. What happens in the same scenario if you returned after a month's vacation. You may never discern the change. Now, consider Mostly Other People Do The Killing's note-for-note remake of Miles Davis' seminal recording Kind Of Blue (Columbia, 1959). Is that month-long absence what Moppa Elliott's quintet ...read more
I've been too busy enjoying the music of Mostly Other People Do The Killing (MOPTDK) to realize how controversial they've become. If you doubt their ability to rile the jazz world, all you have to do is post one of their videos on your Facebook page and wait for the ensuing kerfuffle to begin. The core band is comprised of four virtuoso instrumentalists, free-spirits who think nothing of hopping from honest-to-god punk rock, to free improv, to hard bop, to Americana, and back; sometimes in the space of a single track. Many of their original compositions, written by bassist Moppa ...read more
Having been simultaneously inspired by and ironic about '80s smooth jazz on the excellent Slippery Rock (Hot Cup Records, 2013), Mostly Other People Do the Killing delve back further into history to explore pre-War genres on Red Hot. It's a tall order for a foursome, so bassist and leader Moppa Elliott has added Brandon Seabrook on banjo, Ron Stabinsky on piano and David Taylor on bass trombone to fully exploit the possibilities inherent in post New Orleans modes. Though the new voices successfully fill out the ensembles and expand the instrumental palette, there is a downside: we don't get to ...read more
Strangely enough, bandleader and bassist Moppa Elliot derived inspiration for his compositions on Slippery Rock from smooth jazz albums of the late 1970s and '80s. However, it's more like smooth jazz under siege; with resonating rhythms, scorching and wily horns choruses, the program offers subliminal detections of commercial jazz fare as the band often breaks into complex and peppery free form jaunts. MOPDtK acutely tears down most of the melodic content, only to reassemble it into fractured and largely improvised harmonic vamps. But part of the group's appeal lies within its youthful spirit and insanely hip spin on modern jazz. ...read more
Mostly Other Peopele Do the Killing is back! And with it the rightly slandered genre of smooth jazz. This quintet's fifth studio album was penned by MOPDtK bassist Moppa Elliot after a lengthy immersion in the smooth jazz recordings of the late 1970s and '80s. Elliott extracted certain idiomatic phrases, harmonies and embellishments from this superficial and commercial style, incorporated into his own compositions and used all the quartet members' encyclopedic knowledge to shed new light on this often maligned sub-genre. Fortunately, Elliot and the other virtuoso co-conspirators of MOPDtK-- trumpeter Peter Evans, saxophonist Jon Irabagon and ...read more
Like the previous four studio albums by self-styled bebop terrorist band Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Slippery Rock begins with a drum solo over a vamp before kicking into the first tune. That's not the only thing that remains constant. Leader/bassist Moppa Elliott's songwriting talents haven't deserted him either; his charts, named after small Pennsylvania towns, are bursting at the seams with nagging melodies and rhythmic gear changes. Also present and correct are the affectionate nods to older forms and sources, this time particularly the smooth jazz of the 1980s, played simultaneously straight and with a devil-may-care abandon.read more
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