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Mostly Other People Do the Killing by Moppa Elliott

Bassist Moppa Elliott's Mostly Other People Do the Killing features a kaleidoscope of jazz from a four-piece band that often sounds larger. Despite a statement of purpose from Elliott that is needlessly combative and self-aggrandizing, the music itself is at times quite humorous. In the disc's most successful moments, the quartet sounds like Duke Ellington, the Ornette Coleman Quartet and the Art Ensemble of Chicago stuffed into a blender with lower culture elements and turned on high speed. Actually, I guess it all something like that; some tracks are just more effective (and less wearing) than others.

The star of the date is horn player Peter Evans, whose trumpets are continually interesting. Drummer Kevin Shea plays well, though the tempo gets a bit too frenetic at times as on "Jollytown" and "Good Intent." Saxophonist Jon Irabagon plays creatively, with a bit of an over-reliance on off-register sounds. Moppa Elliott sounds best plucking the noir-ish riffs of "Elliott Mills" and "Between Desire and Panic," and does some admirable bowing on "Good Intent."

Mostly Other People Do the Killing is a rewarding listen, if a bit too strident in word and deed. Moppa Elliot & Co. use clever arrangements and quotes, and their are some pretty brilliant passages here. The confection is tasty, but probably too rich for everyday consumption.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Moppa Elliott
  • CD Title: Mostly Other People Do the Killing
  • Genre: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
  • Year Released: 2004
  • Record Label: Hot Cup
  • Rating: Two Stars
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