Friday, April 01, 2011

Listening Booth, week 13: MOPDtK

  • Mostly Other People Do the Killing: The Coimbra Concert (Clean Feed) - What MOPDtK do is not really deconsrtuc jazz history, but rather weave elements from across the board into a mesh that make them sound truly unique. Ragged rhythms and brassy timbres from New Orleans jazz, speedy bebop and post bop, skronky outbursts and sudden stops 'n' starts that point to both Monk and free jazz are melded together in a way that suggest both love for and defiance of conventions and traditions, and in turn proves great knowledge and grasp of jazz history. Live, though, deconstruction does happen. But not really of the jazz traditions as much as their own compositions. One tune will suddenly take a different turn not only by way of "regular" jazz improvisation as one would expect, but at any time any one of the group may take the opportunity to start quoting a different composition from their own repertoire, just as Sonny Rollins might have quoted a standard or a pop tune during one of his solos back in the day ('though MOPDtK do that kind of referencing here too). The opening track here is a case in point: at trumpeter Peter Evans' cue, the groovy "Drainlick" (from This Is Our Moosic) speeds up and turns into the splendidly heady "Shamokin!!!" (off the album of the same name) as he starts playing the lead melody from that tune. This certainly keeps their music fresh, and will surprise even those who know their compositions well. Maybe not as solid and concise as their studio recordings, but that is probably not the point. The Coimbra Concert is a highly entertaining, exciting and engaging nearly two hour long document of überjass from one of the best jazz groups today. Oh, and the cover photo is fantastic (nudge nidge)! (8/10)*
* Grades are tentative, based on three or four listens, though quite often a few more. Much of the writing is done during listens, and should be considered notes more than final reviews.

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