305

Mostly Other People Do The Killing: Shamokin!!!

Troy Collins By

Sign in to view read count
Mostly Other People Do The Killing: Shamokin!!! Bassist Moppa Elliott's cheeky quartet, Mostly Other People Do The Killing (MOPDTK) aims to drag jazz kicking and screaming out of the concert hall and back into the street. In the liner notes to their first self-titled album (Hot Cup, 2005) Elliott wrote ..."I like my jazz with some dirt on it, sometimes a lot of dirt. Jazz has started to take itself too seriously and is in danger of falling into the same stagnant condition that so-called 'classical music' is in now."

Recalling the impetuous antics of seminal Downtown ensembles like the Lounge Lizards, Jazz Passengers and Sex Mob, as well as the zany irreverence of the New Dutch Swing movement, MOPDTK bring a wry sense of humor and volatile energy to the jazz tradition on their second album, Shamokin!!! (named after a small Pennsylvania town that neighbors Elliott's hometown, Scranton).

All four are conservatory trained musicians; Elliott and trumpeter Peter Evans studied together at Oberlin, saxophonist Jon Irabagon at Julliard and drummer Kevin Shea at Berklee. Since then, Evans has become a renowned solo improviser in the experimental scene, Irabagon was a member of indie-folk group Bright Eyes and Shea is currently in over a dozen ensembles, ranging from post-rock experimentalists Storm and Stress to People, with guitarist Mary Halvorson.

As leader and sole composer, Elliott's writing embodies the best aspects of classic jazz styles, melding early swing, bop, hard-bop, blues, boogaloo, samba, bossa-nova and myriad others together in an accessible, but edgy mélange. Maintaining a contrarian attitude towards traditional forms, Elliott's quartet impishly deconstructs hallowed themes with a wink and a nudge.

Elliott and Shea keep the rhythms loose and flexible, peppering them with explosive interjections. They modulate tempos from double-time to free, stretching them to the breaking point by spontaneously abandoning them in furious pneumatic volleys, then snapping back into the pocket at a moment's notice.

Evans and Irabagon alternate between mellifluous harmony and vociferous intensity, often sabotaging each other's tuneful cadences with sudden, dissonant outbursts of almost cartoonish frenzy. Capable of great restraint and tender lyricism, they are equally content unleashing salvos of blistering skronk and gutbucket histrionics, often in the same phrase.

Embracing post-modernism's all-inclusive, hyper-speed aesthetic, Elliott and company use their encyclopedic knowledge of genres and styles to enrich their statements in intersecting layers, avoiding the rote jump cut clichés of their fore bearers.

One of the most infectiously vivacious releases of the year, Shamokin!!! reveals a new wrinkle in the tradition. Historically aware and virtuosic, the wily Mostly Other People Do The Killing is an ensemble to watch.


Track Listing: Handsome Eddy; The Hop Bottom Hop; Shamokin; Dunkelbergers; Factoryville; Lover; Andover; Evans City; Baden; A Night in Tunisia.

Personnel: Peter Evans: trumpet; Jon Irabagon: alto saxophone; Moppa Elliott: double bass; Kevin Shea: drums.

Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: Hot Cup Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

CD/LP/Track Review
Live Reviews
CD/LP/Track Review
General Articles
Read more articles
Pat Metheny Pat Metheny
guitar
Ornette Coleman Ornette Coleman
sax, alto
John Zorn John Zorn
sax, alto
William Parker William Parker
bass, acoustic
Nels Cline Nels Cline
guitar, electric
Fred Anderson Fred Anderson
saxophone
Tim Berne Tim Berne
saxophone
Henry Grimes Henry Grimes
bass, acoustic

More Articles

Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "Americana" CD/LP/Track Review Americana
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: July 25, 2016
Read "Moon Trio: Earth-Time" CD/LP/Track Review Moon Trio: Earth-Time
by Marithe Van der Aa
Published: February 9, 2017
Read "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5
by Doug Collette
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Nwayo" CD/LP/Track Review Nwayo
by James Nadal
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Zentuary" CD/LP/Track Review Zentuary
by John Kelman
Published: December 25, 2016
Read "Samba Gostoso" CD/LP/Track Review Samba Gostoso
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 6, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!