The audacious project, first conceived by Moppa Elliott and Peter Evans in 2002, intends to challenge the way people listen to jazz. By transcribing and recording what is arguably the greatest jazz album of all time, Mostly Other People Do the Killing affirms the greatness of the original while questioning the direction of jazz in the 21st century. The thought-experiment-cum-album forces to listener to examine what makes jazz actually jazz and brings the non-notatable elements music to the foreground: timbre, articulation and the ineffable nature of tone and feel. Standing in for Davis' classic band are Peter Evans on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on alto and tenor saxophone, Ron Stabinsky on piano, Moppa Elliott on bass and Kevin Shea on drums.
Mostly Other People Do the Killing's new album Blue is a note-for-note re-creation of Miles Davis' classic 1959 recording, Kind of Blue. Moppa Elliott and Peter Evans first conceived of the idea for this project in 2002. The liner notes are by the Argentine author, Jorge Louis Borges, who explored similar themes in his writing. Moppa Elliott is available for interviews should you have any questions about this recording or its creation.
"Is there a jazz outfit as delightfully funny and fearless as Mostly Other People Do the Killing?" asks Paul de Barros in DownBeat. MOPDtK has resoundingly answered that question. Founded in 2003 the group has six previous highly acclaimed albums to its credit. "Šthey rip up history and make it anew," writes Tom Hull in the Village Voice. While previous efforts have affectionately skewered diverse genres from smooth jazz to '20s and '30s jazz, MOPDtK has tried a different tack with the directness of Blue. Still, the band's love and deep understanding of jazz tradition shines through no matter the style. "One never gets the sense that MOPDtK is making fun of hot jazz," writes Steve Greenlee in a JazzTimes review of Red Hot. "Rather, they're having fun with it. You will be too."
Mostly Other People Do the Killing was founded by bassist/composer Moppa Elliott in the fall of 2003 as a quartet including Peter Evans, Jon Irabagon, and Kevin Shea. Their eponymous debut album was released in 2004 on Elliott's Hot Cup Records label and was followed by the 2006 release of Shamokin!!! - the first of many albums named after towns in Elliott's native Pennsylvania. After garnering critical praise and embarking on several tours of the Northeast US, MOPDtK began to appear in DownBeat Critics' polls, winning in the category "Rising Star Ensemble" in 2008. In 2009, the quartet was invited to perform at the Moers Jazz Festival in Germany and began regularly touring Europe and Canada performing at the North Sea, Oslo, Enjoy Jazz, Vancouver, and Banlieues Bleues Jazz Festivals, to name a few. Their two most recent releases, Slippery Rock and Red Hot, feature compositions by Elliott based on the music of specific historical periods, late '70s smooth jazz and fusion and late '20s small ensemble jazz, respectively.
Trumpeter Peter Evans performs in a wide variety of musical styles and contexts from solo improvisation to new music ensembles such as the International Contemporary Ensemble. His quartet and quintet both record for the More-Is-More label and will be releasing a new album Destination: VOID in 2014. Evans frequently performs with Evan Parker, Mary Halvorson, Mats Gustafsson and many others and he is the composer in residence at Issue Project Room in New York for 2014.
Saxophonist Jon Irabagon works with a number of outstanding bandleaders such as Dave Douglas, Mary Halvorson, and Barry Altschul in addition to leading his own ensembles. He was the winner of the 2008 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition and the artist in residence at the 2013 Pietz Jazz Festival.
Pianist Ron Stabinsky lives in Plains, PA and works as a pianist in every capacity from accompanist to soloist. He is a member of the Peter Evans Quartet and Quintet as well as Charles Evans' Quartet (no relation) in addition to performing and teaching at Wilkes University, Westchester University, and many others.
Bassist Moppa Elliott teaches music at St. Mary's High School in Manhasset, NY and double bass at the Long Island Conservatory. He also produces and releases albums on Hot Cup Records including those by artists such as the Danny Fox Trio, Jon Lundbom and Big V Chord, and Bryan and the Haggards.
Drummer Kevin Shea was named "Best Drummer in New York" by the Village Voice in 2012 and regularly tours with the band, Talibam! Shea has just released a third album with the band People, 3xaWoman featuring Mary Halvorson and Kyle Forrester.