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Mostly Other People Do The Killing - The Coimbra Concert Rating: 4 out of 5 MOPDTK should rightly be famous, or possibly infamous, for their live shows. This double-disc set provides the aural evidence.

Mostly Other People Do The Killing
The Coimbra Concert
Clean Feed

Mostly Other People Do the Killing should rightly be famous, or possibly infamous, for their live shows. This double-disc set, recorded at Salão Brazil, Coimbra, Portugal over two May nights in 2010, provides the aural evidence.

The physical album, in MOPDTK tradition, comes wrapped in a tongue-in-cheek ‘cover’ of Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert, but forgoes the usual jocular liner notes from the pseudonymous Leonard Featherweight. With a too-soon attempt to promote the in-venue sale of CDs promptly heckled down, any stage announcements are mostly been dispensed with, so there’s little to distract the listener from this mostly breathless two-hour tumble through the MOPDTK songbook. The nine titles identified on the back cover serve to identify only the compositions with which the group launch each track, each a medley of material drawn from MOPDTK’s four studio albums to date. And each track, though all have distinct original rhythmic and melodic aspects, acts principally as a framing device for the welter of impromptu diversions, allusions, and cross-genre quotations with which the group embroider their performance.

Since the MOPDTK live experience is, albeit only marginally, less densely packed with ideas than the studio recordings, this album might be an ideal place for those previously kept at arms-length by MOPDTK’s studiously ironic image to dip into their world. That said, it’s admittedly more of a dive than a dip, a down-the-rabbit-hole experience in which instant recognition of each familiar theme is swiftly followed by a whiplash displacement. If your sense of jazz-rightness is too rigid or narrow you’ll get woozy, but just go with the flow for and you’re guaranteed a payoff in genre-busted exhilaration.

Notwithstanding their evidently ferocious collective talent, MOPDTK are instantly lovable for their lack of studious hipster cool. There’s none of the music-school-graduate, or toe-in-the-indie-rock-world pseudo-hipster self-consciousness to them, as with other jazz acts in their peer group. MOPDTK play jazz unapologetically, fully acknowledging the tradition. And they have fun doing it, while somehow avoiding the travesty of trivialisation. They kick ass. As a musician, drummer Kevin Shea is certainly the most iconoclastic and least likely to seek to dazzle with some display of technical artistry, though it’s probably not beyond him to do so. He’s too much of an entertainer for that. Think of Gene Krupa, Han Bennink, and Keith Moon; Shea is somewhere in the same capacious bag. The quiet, self-effacing saxophonist John Irabagon is the salt to Shea’s pepper. He’s terrifically incisive, and a master of diverse styles, ranging coolly from the terse to the loquacious. Witness the fine passage of circular breathing in one of his solos that suggests he’s always keeping plenty in check. On trumpet, Peter Evans is perhaps the most astonishingly inventive musician I know of, but he’s mercifully tasteful with it. And on bass, the band’s leader and composer Moppa Elliott, is the linchpin on which everything turns, and he somehow makes it all look and sound so easy.

MOPDTK customary close their live shows with a “Night in Tunisia” medley (on the Coimbra set, part of the sequence that begins with, and is therefore titled “Blue Ball”), but here it closes disc one. This is undoubtedly because there’s a strong visual aspect to this segment that’s inevitably lost in mediation. It will be impossible for those who haven’t seen the live show to get the complete picture. Particularly, they will not understand why anyone would whoop at Kevin Shea’s rather basic-sounding off-skins soloing in his percussion feature that leads up to “A Night in Tunisia”. There’s probably no sound engineer out there talented enough to render in hi-fi the sound of a man caressing, licking and/or dry-humping a venue’s infrastructure. Still, any Jazz Mann readers with their hands on the recording can check out Ian Mann’s review of MOPDTK’s London concert of July 2011 for a few insights into the goings-on: http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/mostly-other-people-do-the-killing-the-vortex-dalston-london.-14-07-2011/ (though I note Ian draws a veil over Shea’s more outré antics, so you’ll have to wait on the first MOPDTK live DVD for the full, entertainingly distasteful picture of those few choice moments).

The Coimbra Concert

Mostly Other People Do The Killing

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Reviewed by: Tim Owen

Album Review

4 out of 5

The Coimbra Concert

MOPDTK should rightly be famous, or possibly infamous, for their live shows. This double-disc set provides the aural evidence.

Mostly Other People Do The Killing
The Coimbra Concert
Clean Feed

Mostly Other People Do the Killing should rightly be famous, or possibly infamous, for their live shows. This double-disc set, recorded at Salão Brazil, Coimbra, Portugal over two May nights in 2010, provides the aural evidence.

The physical album, in MOPDTK tradition, comes wrapped in a tongue-in-cheek ‘cover’ of Keith Jarrett’s Koln Concert, but forgoes the usual jocular liner notes from the pseudonymous Leonard Featherweight. With a too-soon attempt to promote the in-venue sale of CDs promptly heckled down, any stage announcements are mostly been dispensed with, so there’s little to distract the listener from this mostly breathless two-hour tumble through the MOPDTK songbook. The nine titles identified on the back cover serve to identify only the compositions with which the group launch each track, each a medley of material drawn from MOPDTK’s four studio albums to date. And each track, though all have distinct original rhythmic and melodic aspects, acts principally as a framing device for the welter of impromptu diversions, allusions, and cross-genre quotations with which the group embroider their performance.

Since the MOPDTK live experience is, albeit only marginally, less densely packed with ideas than the studio recordings, this album might be an ideal place for those previously kept at arms-length by MOPDTK’s studiously ironic image to dip into their world. That said, it’s admittedly more of a dive than a dip, a down-the-rabbit-hole experience in which instant recognition of each familiar theme is swiftly followed by a whiplash displacement. If your sense of jazz-rightness is too rigid or narrow you’ll get woozy, but just go with the flow for and you’re guaranteed a payoff in genre-busted exhilaration.

Notwithstanding their evidently ferocious collective talent, MOPDTK are instantly lovable for their lack of studious hipster cool. There’s none of the music-school-graduate, or toe-in-the-indie-rock-world pseudo-hipster self-consciousness to them, as with other jazz acts in their peer group. MOPDTK play jazz unapologetically, fully acknowledging the tradition. And they have fun doing it, while somehow avoiding the travesty of trivialisation. They kick ass. As a musician, drummer Kevin Shea is certainly the most iconoclastic and least likely to seek to dazzle with some display of technical artistry, though it’s probably not beyond him to do so. He’s too much of an entertainer for that. Think of Gene Krupa, Han Bennink, and Keith Moon; Shea is somewhere in the same capacious bag. The quiet, self-effacing saxophonist John Irabagon is the salt to Shea’s pepper. He’s terrifically incisive, and a master of diverse styles, ranging coolly from the terse to the loquacious. Witness the fine passage of circular breathing in one of his solos that suggests he’s always keeping plenty in check. On trumpet, Peter Evans is perhaps the most astonishingly inventive musician I know of, but he’s mercifully tasteful with it. And on bass, the band’s leader and composer Moppa Elliott, is the linchpin on which everything turns, and he somehow makes it all look and sound so easy.

MOPDTK customary close their live shows with a “Night in Tunisia” medley (on the Coimbra set, part of the sequence that begins with, and is therefore titled “Blue Ball”), but here it closes disc one. This is undoubtedly because there’s a strong visual aspect to this segment that’s inevitably lost in mediation. It will be impossible for those who haven’t seen the live show to get the complete picture. Particularly, they will not understand why anyone would whoop at Kevin Shea’s rather basic-sounding off-skins soloing in his percussion feature that leads up to “A Night in Tunisia”. There’s probably no sound engineer out there talented enough to render in hi-fi the sound of a man caressing, licking and/or dry-humping a venue’s infrastructure. Still, any Jazz Mann readers with their hands on the recording can check out Ian Mann’s review of MOPDTK’s London concert of July 2011 for a few insights into the goings-on: http://www.thejazzmann.com/reviews/review/mostly-other-people-do-the-killing-the-vortex-dalston-london.-14-07-2011/ (though I note Ian draws a veil over Shea’s more outré antics, so you’ll have to wait on the first MOPDTK live DVD for the full, entertainingly distasteful picture of those few choice moments).


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