Mostly Other People Do the Killing — Paint
(Hot Cup Records , 2017, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2017-10-30
Seems like it was only a few of months ago that I was writing about Loafer’s Hollow… oh, it was. That album presented Mostly Other People Do the Killing as a seven-piece group, but over the years, it’s generally been a core quartet with occasional augmentations. Founding bassist Moppa Elliott is the composer and driving force, and for this outing he’s pared it down to a trio with Kevin Shea, who’s been on drums since the beginning, and pianist Ron Stabinsky, who came in with 2012’s Red Hot. Notably absent are trumpet and sax, which had previously been the stars of the arrangements, though Stabinsky is more than capable of filling out the sound with his hyperactive keyboard work. The essence of MOPDTK is a broad knowledge of the history of jazz approached with a highly irreverent attitude. Virtually everything is on the table, and in their wanderings, you’re just as likely to hear echoes of Led Zeppelin as Duke Ellington — well, actually Ellington is more likely, but Zep isn’t out of the question, as I can attest from catching the release party for this album. All three players have mastered the tropes of jazz, from swing beats to walking bass lines to extended blues chords, and creatively blend them with touches of avantgarde and an adventurous sense of humor. They’re mischievous kids messing around in the playground of jazz. And Paint is actually my favorite MOPDTK album so far. It has all the far-ranging intelligence without the more difficult sounds that the sax and trumpet brought to bear. Shea is a maniac on the drums, diving into double or triple time at unexpected times, or crossing swung beats with straight eighths and who knows what else. But the others take it all in stride, often with Elliott holding down the underlying tempo. Do you remember those classic comedy bits with Victor Borge at the piano, where he’s clowning around but you know he’s got impeccable technique? Mostly Other People Do the Killing is like that in the form of a jazz combo.
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more