Two discs I have been listening to recently are Eyes in the Back of My Head by Cosmologic and Shamokin! by the imaginatively titled Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Cosmologic is a group consisting of Jason Robinson on tenor saxophone, Michael Dessen on trombone, Scott Walton on bass and Nathan Hubbard on drums. They play original compositions that remind me quite a bit of the music performed by saxophonist Ken Vandarmark's various ensembles, mixing up hard blowing free-bop with abstract and spacier interludes. My favorite songs from this album were the leadoff track, "The Rumpus" and the emotional "Code for Darfur." MOPDTK, as can be gathered from their moniker, take themselves a little less seriously, but their music is a very interesting mix of composed themes and hot free blowing. Consisting of Peter Evans on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on saxophone, Moppa Elliott on bass, and Kevin Shea on drums, the group takes inspiration from bebop and the music of the early Ornette Coleman quartet to make fast paced and fun music.
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