Tag Archives: Moppa Elliott

Cuadernos de Jazz review by Jesús Gonzalo

Mostly Other People Do The Killing – THE COIMBRA CONCERT (CF 214) ****
Nadie entendía por qué un cuarteto que no incluye piano hubiera elegido para su portada una figura en postura reflexiva frente a él. El título y las fotos individuales en blanco y negro de cada músico, en gesto cómico o exagerado en su recogimiento frente a las teclas, amplían esta apreciación y nos lleva a pensar que estas poses forman parte de una parodia del Köln Concert de Keith Jarrett. Son otros tiempos, vienen a decir, y quizá aquella vanguardia es vista hoy por estos jóvenes como algo impostado. Si comparamos esta imagen desacralizada con el título anterior This is our Moosic entenderemos también lo que les distancia de la erudición clásica de uno y les acerca al free jazz con raíces rurales de Ornette Coleman.

El elemento lúdico, el virtuosismo genialoide y el desprejuicio en la expresión imprimen espontaneidad a una música que se siente como materia viva y gozosa, que aúna el poder deshinibidor del rock y del protojazz juntos y el brillo intelectual que concita primitivismo y modernidad. El impacto que causa su directo, y este disco doble sobre sendos conciertos es buena prueba, reside precisamente en la intensidad contagiosa que se consigue al mezclar los estilos derivados del blues de Nueva Orleáns y la desfiguración narrativa del free gracias a una construcción dinámica en la que la voracidad de motivos (el torrente polifónico de Evans/Irabagon y sus incisivos diálogos), apuntes (citas a temas clásicos de jazz y pop en disco 1) y efectos (los acústicos emulan a los electrónicos) se cruzan sin aliento (confrontando base rítmica y melódica y ejercicio solista) en distintos planos. Soltura, desparpajo e inteligencia son moneda corriente en una formación que, de tanto genio, desprende a veces frialdad.

Top ten new releases for 2011 by Tim Niland (Music is More)

10. Greg Ward’s Phonic Juggernaut (Thirsty Ear)
Hard hitting trio for sax, bass and drums. This is tough, gritty and strong music that deserves an audience; it’s potent stuff.
9. Rudresh Mahanthappa – Samdhi (ACT)
Samdhi looks forward to new vistas in Mathanhappa’s all-encompassing musical vision. Combining multi-cultural music and looking at jazz in a fresh direction, he has created a unique synergy of music that is fresh and exciting.
8. Darius Jones & Matthew Shipp – Cosmic Lieder (AUM Fidelity)
This was a masterful performance from the two musicians – one an established master himself, and another on his way to becoming one. Jones and Shipp’s Cosmic Lieder is the aural equivalent to a dark and stormy night. Short, stark ideas collide like in a particle accelerator, and the brief nature of the performances just adds to their pointedness.
7. David S. Ware – Planetary Unknown (AUM Fidelity)
You can chart Ware’s lineage in the depth and strength of the music, from a young devotee of Sonny Rollins and Albert Ayler, to a loft scene veteran developing his own unique sound to an esteemed elder statesman and master improviser and instrumentalist, Davis S. Ware is one of a kind and every note is a treasure.
6. BB & C – The Veil (Cryptogramophone)
BB and C is a cooperative group consisting of alto saxophonist Tim Berne, drummer Jim Black and guitarist Nels Cline. This was a very exciting and continuously engaging album to listen to, moving between avant-garde squalls of noise and abstract passages of sound sculpture.
5. Matt Lavelle – Goodbye New York, Hello World (Musicnow)
This album was very well planned out and executed, with both the duo and full band tracks succeeding well. Fans of progressive jazz are urged to check this out soon.
4. Steve Reid, Kieran Hebden and Mats Gustafsson – Live at the South Bank (Smalltown Superjazz, 2011)
Shifting from dark and brooding textures to exciting, heavy and powerful features, the double album unfolds in a continuous suite waxing and waning like the unstoppable tide. This unique and fascinating performance is highly recommended for progressive jazz and rock fans.
3. Matthew Shipp – Art of the Improviser (Thirsty Ear)
The power of the piece comes from the juxtaposition of heavy with light, much like the recent work of Ahmad Jamal. This was an excellent set that is highly recommended to anyone looking for the state of the art in jazz piano.
2. World Saxophone Quartet – Yes We Can (Jazzwerkstatt)
The musicians play with great authority throughout this very exciting album, showing that regardless of the passing of time and the changing of lineups, the WSQ remains a powerful force in jazz.
1. Mostly Other People Do the Killing – The Coimbra Concert (Clean Feed)
What makes the band so much fun to follow is the impish delight they take in making music, from the delightful spoof covers to wryly quoting famous jazz songs amidst their original compositions. But make no mistake, their music is taken seriously and played with a very high degree of competence.

Cadence Magazine review by Michael Coyle

This is MOPDTK’s first live album—and it’s a doozy. Two CDs recorded over two days. The recording quality is excellent; were it not for applause at the end of track I wouldn’t know I was hearing a live date. More importantly, the music is vibrant. The music is intense. The music is endlessly inventive and playful—as one might anticipate from the band-written liner notes, reproduced here in full:“Each track listed here is titled after the composition by Moppa with which it opens. Many other songs and musical ele-ments, by Moppa and otherwise, appear and disappear over the course of each performance. In the interest of space and convenience, they are not listed. In fact, every note and sound in this recording is a reference to some other recording or per-formance, real or imaginary.”Listeners who have followed MOPDTK for any part of the past eight years will recognize this parody of Jazz commentary. It’s there too in the cover photo—a send-up of ’s The Köln Concert—the famous black and white photo framed by a white border. There is of course no piano in MOPDTK; neither is there any corollary for Jarrett’s tasteful lyricism or controlled crescendos. It’s a joke—but it’s all in earnest. I’m not clever enough to catch all the allusions mentioned above (except maybe the imaginary ones), but even casual listeners will notice how “A Night in Tunisia” develops within “Blue Ball,” or “Burning Well” contains “Love Is Here To Stay,” or “Night Train” shows up in the course of “Factoryville.” This album is quite simply just great fun. The musicians sound like they’re having as good a time as anyone could possibly have and still con-tinue playing their instruments. All four of them sound at the top of their games. All four of them seem to have the whole history of Jazz at their fingertips, and in the passage of just a couple minutes you might hear swing, bop, something from the shape of Jazz to come—and yet the music always feels organic and never freezes into mere pastiche. These guys can wail without stumbling into sonic assault. It’s gonna be awhile before this killer album leaves my CD player.
©Cadence Magazine 2011, www.cadencebuilding.com

So Jazz review by Jean-Stéphane Brosse

Paris Transatlantic review by Jason Bivins

Mostly Other People Do The Killing – THE COIMBRA CONCERT (CF 214)
First things first: the piss-taking cover reference this time around is to Jarrett’s Köln Concert, and each member of MOPDTK is captured in ECM black and white, hilariously skewering the solo solemnity. You couldn’t imagine a musical exemplar more opposed to this group’s swagger. For their first disc away from the Hot Cup label, the quartet specializing in serious play (bassist and leader Moppa Elliott, trumpeter Peter Evans, saxophonist Jon Irabagon, and drummer Kevin Shea) delivers up a two-disc live helping from Coimbra. It’s nice to finally have a live document for those curious about their splice-and-dice methodology (recently articulated in a Signal to Noise feature). They’re in fine fettle throughout, with a playful sensibility that allows them – even urges them – to romp through variegated terrains, from free heat to lovingly rendered bop, swing, and pranks all mashed up into a singular sound. There are nine tracks in all, each taking off from a Moppa Elliott tune but moving from this compositional base into who knows where? The method is one of free association, collage and interpolation, where each member can pick up the thread of veto it as he sees or hears fit.
It’s a tough thing to do without sounding dilettantish or unfocused, depending on the group. But MOPDTK pulls it off gloriously (even including some uncredited work on electronics here and there). Evans and Irabagon are outrageous as ever, but it’s really the group sound – with its riotous shifts in tempo, wrench-in-the-works affinity, and keen responsiveness/playfulness – that compels. They wend their way, unpredictably and dizzyingly, between tunes in splenetic, densely packed minutes, from “Drainlick” to “Shamokin,” taking basic, often fairly simple materials (such as the sassy “Pen Argyll”) and filling them with a bestiary of details, making a deranged rococo of their performances, and stuffing them with slivers and references that go by so quickly they never tire, only delight (look, there’s “Airegin,” and “Nutty,” and “Night in Tunisia,” a faint echo of a Giuffre tune, and – wait – was that really just a nod to Kraftwerk’s “Trans-Europe Express”?). Or they take serious complexity, as with the total tempo madness of “Round Bottom, Square Top,” and make it sound so easy and elegant. Even when they break down into free passages, they pursue independent motion and multiple tempos rather than simply sawing away at extended techniques. In this, “Burning Well” and “St. Mary’s Proctor” create the greatest frisson, like some jazz naked singularity, where everything ever played is heard at once.
Does humor belong in music? That’s a question that often gets put to this band of mischief-makers, just as it was put to Rahsaan and Zappa and the Kollektief. But really, how churlish is it to single out one element of such a rich, fully alive band? It’s just seriously good shit.http://www.paristransatlantic.com/magazine/monthly2011/06jun_text.html

All About Jazz Italy review by Luca Canini

Mostly Other People Do the Killing – The Coimbra Concert (CF 213)
Valutazione: 4.5 stelle
I lettori più affezionati dovrebbero sapere di quale smodata considerazione godano i Mostly Other People Do the Killing su queste pagine virtuali. Tre lunghi anni sono passati da quando l’epifanico Shamokin!!! ne segnalò la rumorosa presenza sul pianeta-jazz; due dall’altrettanto entusiasmante This Is Our Moosic. Da allora la fama del quartetto è doverosamente cresciuta. Moppa Elliott e soci si sono fatti un nome e una reputazione, hanno varcato l’Atlantico e si sono esibiti in mezza Europa. L’Italia, ovviamente, sta nell’altra mezza. E allora, aspettando che qualche direttore artistico si prenda il merito di essere stato il primo a farli suonare nel Bel Paese, il doppio The Coimbra Concert è perfetto per ingannare l’attesa e farsi un’idea di quel che i quattro possono combinare dal vivo.
Perfetto perché in cento e passa minuti, i due CD (editi, manco a dirlo, da una Clean Feed ormai in odore di santità) riescono a raccontare come meglio non si potrebbe quanto accaduto a Coimbra nelle serate del 28 e 29 maggio 2010. In quei giorni un sisma jazzistico di magnitudo dieci della scala Charlie Parker ha colpito la città portoghese. Dal vivo i Mostly sono una forza della natura, una serie di catastrofi una appresso all’altra. L’indole terroristica del quartetto trova linfa vitale nella possibilità di dilatare a dismisura i brani, intrecciare le composizioni, dare libero sfogo agli istinti dissacratori più turpi e inconfessabili, infarcire gli assoli di citazioni imprevedibili. Come quando in “Round Bottom Square Top,” così, a gratis, fanno capolino i Pink Floyd di “The Wall”; oppure il John Coltrane di A Love Supreme che spunta in “Pen Arguyl”. Buffoni esibizionisti? Amoralismo jazzistico? Certo. Ma condotto con spirito lucidamente irriguardoso e con un perverso godimento al quale è impossibile resistere.

Ben venga la soda caustica. Ben venga il bagno di sangue di ritmi e strutture. Il modo migliore per rapportarsi con le consuetudini non è ignorarle, ma farle a pezzi. In pochi riescono a prendere così sul serio l’arte di non prendersi sul serio. Vivaddio c’è ancora chi non ha remore e nemmeno santi in paradiso. Loro si definiscono Terrorist Be-Bop Uber-Jass Ensemble. Definizione linguisticamente discutibile, ma perfettamente calzante. L’ironia è un’arma formidabile per chi la sa brandire. E nel caso dei Mostly abbiamo a che fare con quattro splendidi improvvisatori, menti lucide in ebollizione. Peter Evans è trombettista dalle doti mirabolanti, dal fraseggio impeccabile e cristallino; Jon Irabagon è quanto di meglio sia capitato al sassofono in tempi recenti; Moppa Elliott è uno dei bassisti più solidi in circolazione; Kevin Shea e il suo drumming anarcoide sono un piccolo-grande miracolo di caos sistematico.

Mettete i bambini a nanna e sbarrate le finestre: i Mostly Other People Do the Killing sono tornati!

Gapplegate Music review by Grego Edwards

Mostly Other People Do the Killing – The Coimbra Concert (CF 214)
Live jazz has traditionally gained a certain cache among the cognoscenti. In the age of the 78, artists were limited to the three or four minute cut; live playing allowed them the stretch out. With the advent of the LP, artists could go on for quite a bit longer, which they started to do on Prestige albums in the early ’50s and everywhere else after that. The CD enabled even longer stretches, as we all know. Nonetheless the live situation puts improvisers in less clinical environments, ideally in front of an appreciative audience. So there has still been something to be said about the live appearance and the live recording for capturing jazz at its uninhibited best.

The appearance of a live 2-CD set of Mostly Other People Do the Killing [The Coimbra Concert (Clean Feed 214)] naturally brought out a set of heightened expectations when I took it out of its mailer several weeks ago. MOPDTK in the studio can be boisterous and wild. What will the band live sound like? More so? To jump ahead, I was not disappointed.

This is a fine band. Peter Evans (trumpet), Jon Irabagon (tenor and sopranino), Moppa Elliot (double bass) and Kevin Shea (drums) are some very impressive new players on the scene individually, and together they rise to some high places indeed.

So we have the band in a live concert. As is often the case with this band, the cover is a send-off–this time of a Keith Jarrett album. It has a shot of an intensely introspective pianist going to it on the cover. Between the gatefold and outside covers, all four band members are shown being expressive and intense at the piano, only, of course, the joke is that there is no piano on this record or as a part of the group!

The music? Like the ICP Orchestra and the Art Ensemble of Chicago, MOPDTK can indulge in outrageously exuberent semi-parodies and pastiches of past jazz styles. The approach shows a profound respect for the forms, but also a kind of over-the-top playfulness that is not unlike a kid getting out of hand with the fingerpaint. There is no adult present (so far as I can determine) to stop the “nonsense” and so it beautifully and delightfully continues through the course of two long CDs worth of music. And they do some “serious” playing here throughout as well.

It’s another fine outing from a band that has become an essential part of what’s going on that’s good in today’s jazz. They combine the “in” of tradition with the “out” of near-perdition in their own very considerably musical and very considerably hysterical way. I mean that in a good way.

MOPDTK has become a group one should not miss. This set shows them growing as a band, glowing as individual players, and having a hell of a lot of fun in the process. Yeah!

Time Out Lisboa review by Jose Carlos Fernandes

Mostly Other People Do The Killing – The Coimbra Concert (CF 214)
Queiram reparar na capa reproduzida em anexo. Familiar? Exacto, faz lembrar um dos mais famosos e mais vendidos discos de jazz de sempre: The Köln Concert de Keith Jarrett. Mas as semelhanças com The Köln Concert esgotam-se na embalagem. Para começar nem sequer há piano, antes trompete (Peter Evans), sax (John Irabagon), contrabaixo (Moppa Elliott) e bateria (Kevin Shea). Também não se espere daqui o sopro lírico e inebriante de Jarrett – em vez disso, sente-se o sopro escaldante do napalm. Sim, isto é território em guerra e, até onde a vista alcança, o solo está juncado de destroços fumegantes do hard bop dos anos 50 e 60. Uns são facilmente reconhecíveis, como um “Night In Tunisia” em chamas (adequado aos tempos de agitação que se vivem hoje naquelas paragens) que surge no final de “Blue Ball”. Outros estão tão calcinados e deformados que nem o próprio progenitor os reconheceria.

Pode haver arte e método no massacre? Sem dúvida: os MOPDtK retalham o jazz clássico com uma precisão e rapidez dignos de um cirurgião-chefe endemoninhado e o desfile aparentemente caótico e histérico de estilhaços musicais é orquestrado com rigor. O quarteto reúne alguns dos mais virtuosos músicos de jazz do momento e os solos de Evans (por exemplo em “Round Bottom, Square Top”) e Irabagon (completamente possesso no sax sopranino em “Blue Ball”) estão para lá do que parece humanamente possível.

Quem não tenha tido o privilégio de estar no Salão Brazil a 28 e 29 de Maio de 2010, pode consolar-se com este duplo CD. A Clean Feed lá conseguiu domesticar a acústica ingrata da sala (apenas a bateria soa algo “plastificada”) e a tagarelice do público. O mais certo é este ter ficado em estupor perante este vendaval de fúria, humor negro e insanidade.

Free Jazz review by Stef Gissels

Mostly Other People Do The Killing – The Coimbra Concert (CF 214)
In my latest review of “Mostly Other People Do The Killing”, I wrote “And when you hear some of their soloing in the wildest parts of their performance, you think : “why do these guys put themselves in this self-constructed cage?”, you think “what if they let things loose?”, you think “what if they just played what they truly felt instead of just performing an act to amuse the audience?”, you think “they could be the Chicago Bulls, but they act like the Harlem Globetrotters”, you think “it is show rather than art, but then performed by artists rather than showmen”.

Now, when hearing their new double live album, I have the same sentiment. The playing is even more superb, jaw-dropping and spectacular and fun, with changes of style, tempo, rhythm, arrangements, with tunes flawlessly merging into one another, with a band of equals that is fully at the same high level, throughout the album, diving and reworking jazz history, swing, blues, full of fun and drive and enthusiasm and raw and rebellious wildness of modern music, fully enjoying themselves in the process … with little jokes and quotes and throwing balls around for the other player to catch and pass on flawlessly at breakneck speed to the amusement of the audience.

The band is Peter Evans on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on sax, Moppa Elliott on bass and Kevin Shea on drums.

The downside of all the fun is the same as with all humor, it creates an emotional distance that needs to be bridged in true artistry. It is somehow non-committal, not the expression of real feelings of anger or madness or sorrow … but that is clearly not the intention either.
Great stuff, great fun.

(and did you expect a comment on the Keith Jarrett Köln Concert art work ressemblance?)

Ruta 66 review by Pachi Tapiz

Mostly Other People Do the Killing – The Coimbra Concert (CF 214)
Los Mostly Other People es de lo más divertido que le ha pasado al jazz en bastante tiempo. Lo de estos cuatro músicos tiene mucho mérito ante la ola de conservadurismo que invade a parte de la crítica, público y también a parte de los músicos. Pensar en su música me lleva a pensar en comida: para alimentarse hay muchas opciones. Se puede ir a una franquicia (sean tapas, pizzas, hamburguesas o comida típica), a un restaurante de diseño, a una tasca de las de siempre… o a casa de alguna de alguna amable tía-abuela de esas que casi todos tenemos. A esa comida es a lo que me sabe su música: a cosas tomadas de aquí y allá (free, cool jazz o hard-bop), bien sazonadas con mucho swing por unos instrumentisas sobresalientes, melodías muy logradas y libertad a espuertas.

En su directo de Coimbra, su quinto disco, se muestran en su salsa. Los temas tienen el título del que sirve para iniciar su descarga de creatividad, aunque allí hay citas de otros temas, melodías improvisadas y solos soberbios. Sin la limitación del estudio, se expanden como sólo ellos lo saben hacer. Creando jazz de primera, ni más ni menos.