Moppa Elliott’s Mostly Other People Do the Killing Presents Disasters Vol. 1

Trio album available February 18, 2022, on Hot Cup Records

Featuring: Ron Stabinsky (Jazz Journalists Association Best Debut Album, Free For One), Moppa Elliott (DownBeat Critics Poll Rising Star Bassist, Composer, Arranger)Kevin Shea (Best Drummer, Village Voice)

Hot Cup Records is proud to present Disasters Vol. 1, the second release by the piano trio configuration of Mostly Other People Do the Killing. Disasters Vol. 1 features eight new compositions by bassist/composer Moppa Elliott written in the fall of 2019, just before the pandemic struck. Each composition on the album is named after a small town in Pennsylvania that experienced disasters ranging from floods and fires to mining accidents. These disasters are cautionary tales, potent metaphors, and excellent examples of how people measure risk and reward.

Elliott’s compositions, as performed by the MOPDtK trio including pianist Ron Stabinsky and drummer Kevin Shea, are deliberately simple so that they can be spontaneously taken apart and reassembled, a hallmark of MOPDtK dating back to the band’s inception in 2003. The melodic material is often blues-based and firmly rooted in the Jazz tradition unlike much of the electronic orchestration, improvised transitions, and nonsequiturs that frequently derail the written composition. The opening track “Three Mile Island,” for example, is a bugaloo, a form that serves as the lynchpin or opening number of so many classic jazz albums. Beginning with dense improvised material, the composition slowly takes shape around a bass line and harmonic progression before the recording concludes with the full statement of the theme.  

MOPDtK’s frequent collaborator, Leonardo Featherweight, has penned liner notes explaining the connection between each song’s title and the music it inspired. True to form, he often deliberately misses the point, yet accidentally reveals important points. While each piece was written with the town and its specific disaster in mind, also focused on disasters as metaphors for the conflicts we encounter every day as we navigate the joys and sorrows of our social, romantic, and familial obligations. Ultimately, the origins and inspiration behind each piece are less important than the recorded performance and interaction between the musicians in real-time.

After the release of Paint, the first MOPDtK album in the piano trio format, Elliott recorded three albums of his compositions for three different ensembles. JazzBand/RockBand/DanceBand featured his straight-ahead jazz quintet Advancing on a Wild Pitch, his rock band Unspeakable Garbage (which performed at the Heineken Jazz Festival in San Sebastian, Spain), and his dance band Acceleration Due to Gravity featuring his long-time friends and collaborators Mike Pride and George BurtonThe range of styles included on this album solidified Elliott’s reputation as one of the great composers working today.

Over the past sixteen years, MOPDtK, led by bassist/composer Moppa Elliott, 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. Billed as a “Bebop Terrorist Band,” their music melds history and tradition with cutting-edge vibrancy and the underlying imperative that jazz is alive and well, and most of all, fun. 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 and will likely be a part of the discussion of the state of jazz in the 21st century for years to come. In 2015, the band returned to a quartet format for the album Mauch Chunk, which explored the hard bop styles common in the 1950s. Since the release of Mauch Chunk, all four members of the core quartet have released solo recordings including Moppa Elliott’s Still, Up In the Air, and pianist Ron Stabinsky’s Free For One, both on Hot Cup RecordsIn February 2017 MOPDtK the band released the septet album Loafer’s Hollow to wide critical acclaim.

Pianist Ron Stabinsky is a member of the legendary indie-rock band The Meat Puppets, Peter Evans’ Quartet and Quintet, Charles Evans Quartet (no relation), and in 2016 recorded his first solo album Free For One on Hot Cup Records.

Kevin Shea was named “Best Drummer in New York” by the Village Voice and regularly tours with the noise-rock-improv duo, Talibam! Talibam! was named the “Artists in Residence” at the Moers Festival in Moers, Germany for all of 2021 and has spent the year collaborating with a wide variety of artists from around the world.

Bassist Moppa Elliott teaches music at Information Technology High School in Long Island City, NY.  He also produces and releases albums on Hot Cup Records including his solo bass recording Still, Up in the Air, and a three-album release entitled JazzBand/RockBand/DanceBand.

Braithwaite & Katz Communications

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