Sunday, February 15, 2015

Mostly Other People Do the Killing - Hannover (Jazzwerkstatt, 2015)

Hard on the heels of their divisive Blue album released last fall this follow up is a live album that plays to their strength as a forward thinking but accessible band that has one thing that lifts them over many of their colleagues: a wonderful sense of humor. This was lost during their atom by atom reconstruction of the Miles Davis Kind of Blue LP, but here they are on home turf, ripping through lengthy medleys of their own original music, as always mostly named after small towns in Pennsylvania. MOPDTK consists of Jon Irabagon on saxophones, Moppa Elliott on bass, Kevin Shea on drums and Peter Evans on trumpet. The medley of “Pen Argyl / Ulysses at Troy / Andover / Blue Ball / Effort, Patience, Diligence” runs over thirty minutes and shows the near clairvoyant telepathy that exists between the band members which allows them to shift between different tempos and themes taking cues from each other and allowing for both solo space and collective playing. The winkingly fun “Is Granny Spry” leads off the next collection of MOPDTK themes including “Dunkelbergers / Baden / Little Hope” allowing each member of the band to make their own statement and even adding some light electronics for spice. The relatively compact “President Polk” ends the first set of this live recording, before the band returns to pull out all of the stops with “My Delightful Muse / Hideaway / A Night in Tunisia” which shows their ability to work with different speeds and thematic material, as well as using a bracing shot of a jazz standard to conclude. The audience seems a little bewildered with the music and the between song banter, but in a good way. This is a group that is always full of surprises (see Blue) but is at the core a group of wonderful and highly talented musicians dedicated to making their own original statement. Hannover -

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