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Mostly Other People Do the Killing
Ars Nova Workshop is pleased to present the return of bassist/composer Moppa Elliott’s irreverent ensemble Mostly Other People Do the Killing, celebrating the release of the second album by their expanded septet incarnation, Loafer’s Hollow.
As always, bandleader Moppa Elliott juggles multiple sources of inspiration on Loafer’s Hollow, drawing upon the literary and the musical with eight new compositions that explore pre-bebop era jazz from the first half of the 20th century, five of them dedicated to influential authors. Each of the compositions is named after the seemingly inexhaustible supply of oddly-christened towns in Elliott’s native Pennsylvania, as has been the case since the band’s earliest recordings. For this performance, the line-up will include Philly’s own Dan Blacksberg and Nick Millevoi.
“Elliott's intent is clearly to explore pre-bop styles in a contemporary and unsentimental way without mawkishly kowtowing to the work of past masters,” said All About Jazz about the first MOPDtK septet album, Red Hot. “For every irreverent aside and wacky solo, there's the glow of new possibilities emerging from still-valid musical styles that many seem content to simply embalm and enshrine in some sort of museum setting.”
Whereas Red Hot was directly influenced by the jazz and blues recordings of the 1920s and early ‘30s, Loafer’s Hollow owes a great debt to the music of the swing era, and Count Basie’s many ensembles in particular. From the use of the piano as a melodic instrument to the wide assortment of mutes employed by the brass players, the sounds of the 1930s and 40s big bands and “swing song” tradition is constantly referenced. Of course, this being a Mostly Other People Do the Killing album, there are innumerable other musical references waiting to be discovered by the astute listener.
With pieces written in homage to such ground-breaking literary figures as Kurt Vonnegut, Thomas Pynhcon, James Joyce, Cormac McCarthy and David Foster Wallace, Elliott’s obvious choice was to title the album “Library” after a town south of Pittsburgh, PA. After some research, it turned out that the town of Library had an interesting history, having been known as Loafer’s Hollow before the first library in the area was built there in 1833, lending the album its even more evocative, though equally apt, new name.
Over the past thirteen years, MOPDtK has earned a place at the forefront of jazz and improvised music, performing in a style that is at once rooted in the jazz tradition and highly improvised and unstructured. Their initial albums explored the intersection between common practice hard-bop compositions and free improvisation, incorporating a kaleidoscopic wealth of other influences from pop music to the classical European repertoire. In 2010, Elliott expanded the group’s framework and began exploring specific eras of jazz, resulting in 2011’s Slippery Rock (an investigation of smooth jazz and fusion styles) and 2012’s Red Hot (featuring an expanded lineup recalling the jazz and blues recordings of the late 1920s and early 1930s). 2014 saw the release of Blue, a note-for-note recreation of Miles Davis’ classic album, Kind of Blue that evoked a wide range of strong responses from both the public and critics.
Ars Nova Workshop is a Philadelphia nonprofit jazz and experimental music presenting organization. ANW informs, inspires, and challenges listeners to elevate the role of jazz, improvisation, and experimental music in contemporary culture. ANW events provide a forum for discourse, emergent trends in contemporary music, and unique forms of cultural exchange, while nurturing a diverse community for innovative music.