Jun 8, 2017
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – easily the best name in jazz these days – is a quartet that has one foot securely in the past, while another in the adventurous future. Ever since the band came together in 2003, MoPDtK – easily the best acronym in jazz these days – has ventured into areas of classic jazz from the 20’s and 30’s, spinning familiar styles into something new and different with their avant-garde leanings. Heck, they even had the nerve to record their version of Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blue in 2014, doing a note for note recreation of the best-selling jazz album of all time. Clearly, MoPDtK –lead by Moppa Elliott (bass); Jon Irabagon (sax); and Kevin Shea (drums) have no lack of confidence – or sense of humor.
Their latest release, Loafer’s Hollow, continues their mischievous tradition of naming their albums after fictitious towns in Pennsylvania. The band enlarged to a septet for last year’s Red Hot, and with a bit of a personnel change, they tackle their material with the same instrumental lineup. Trumpet legend Steve Bernstein takes the seat that Peter Evans had held for years, and pianist Rob Stabinsky, bass trombonist Dave Taylor and banjo player Brandon Seabrook all add new and sometimes startling colors and textures on their instruments.
Loafer’s Hollow is effectively a rethinking of the Swing era, as tunes – and yes, the songs are titled as homage to Moppa’s favorite writers. Tunes like "Bloomsburg (For James Joyce)" and "Kilgore (For Kurt Vonnegut)" are stylistically of that time period, but feature different keys, time signatures and solos than one might make Count Basie faint. When they get more introspective, as in "Meridian (For Cormac McCarthy)" interesting rhythms and harmonies show the band owes more to the Avant-Garde than ballroom classics.
Podcast 577 is my conversation with Moppa as he speaks openly on the various configurations of MoPDtK, future projects and how the writes. Musical selections include "Honey Hole", "Kilgore (For Kurt Vonnegut)", and "Hi-Nella" from Loafer’s Hollow and "Blue in Green" from their Kind of Blue project.