Friday, February 19, 2010

Mostly Other People Do The Killing - Forty Fort (Hot Cup, 2009) ***½

I did not want to write about this band until I saw them, which was last night. It is fun, it is virtuoso fun, full of drive, full of wildness, full of discipline ... They build on themes reminiscent from early Dixieland swing and bop and everything in between, including blues, but then the whole thing collapses, or unravels into undiscernable layers of sound in the best free jazz sense just to shift back into the same theme, or another, in another tempo, another rhythm, as if there was nothing easier in the world to do. It is crazy, it is wild, it is exhilarating.

You all know the band in the meantime : Moppa Elliott on bass, Peter Evans on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on sax,  and Kevin Shea on drums. All strong players, with Evans being technically astonishing. The band's explicit mission is to bring "fun" back in jazz, and they succeed: it is a highly entertaining album. It was a highly entertaining concert. But that's also a little bit its downside : it's entertainment of the highest level, but only entertainment.

And when you hear some of their soloing in the wildest parts of their performance, you think : "why do these guys put themselves in this self-constructed cage?", you think "what if they let things loose?", you think "what if they just played what they truly felt instead of just performing an act to amuse the audience?", you think "they could be the Chicago Bulls, but they act like the Harlem Globetrotters", you think "it is show rather than art, but then performed by artists rather than showmen". Sure, this approach sells more. But equally sure, these four musicians have more in store.

Enoyable fun.

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© stef

4 comments:

Adam Winer said...

Nice recreation of the "Out of the Afternoon" (Roy Haynes Quartet) jacket.

stef said...

True!

joesh said...

You're right about the entertainment value, the only problem being that I don't find that it really transfers to CD - and would there be any point. It's a bit like listening to a ventriloquist on the radio!

Joel said...

Chicago Bulls? Have you been watching any basketball in the last 10 years?