Solo double-bass improvisations from Mostly Other People Do the Killing bassist and leader Moppa Elliot, consisting of sequences of contrasting themes, or musical cubism in the spirit of Picasso and Braque, presenting 7 of 14 sequences where the improvisation is a series of disparate musical ideas that transition rapidly in an attempt to disrupt the linear progression of thematic development.
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Label: Hot Cup
Catalog ID: HOTCUP 152
Squidco Product Code: 25007
Packaging: Jewel Case
Recorded at St. Stephen's Pro Cathedral in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, on February 16, 2015.
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1. Sequence Three 5:31
2. Sequence Eight 7:14
3. Sequence Nine 6:21
4. Sequence Ten 5:38
5. Sequence Eleven 7:42
6. Sequence Sixtwelve 8:01
7. Sequence Fourteen 9:03
NY Downtown & Jazz/Improv
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"The founder and bassist of Mostly Other People Do the Killing, Matthew "Moppa" Elliott, has kept his own solos to a minimum on MOPDtK recordings, giving the spotlight over to trumpeter Peter Evans, saxophonist Jon Irabagon and now pianist Ron Stabinsky. However, his very recent participation as one of the Big Five Chord quintet, on guitarist Jon Lundbom's Make Magic Happen (Hot Cup Records, 2016) featured an eye-opening solo on Ornette Coleman's "Law Years." That performance made for a perfect teaser for Elliott's new solo bass album, Still, Up In The Air.
Elliott grew up on piano, and then trombone, before switching to the bass and earning his degree from Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He moved to New York City in 2001, broadening his musical landscape while sharing his knowledge as a high school teacher on Long Island. The founder of Hot Cup Records, Elliott released his first album, Pinpoint, that same year (with Evans on board). Something of a restrained forerunner of MOPDtK, that early release effectively demonstrated Elliott's skills as both a musician and a composer.
Still, Up In The Air builds on Elliott's experiences across improvisation, orchestral music and solo performances. His approach does not follow a straight line but produces mutually exclusive ideas that alter the viewpoint without attempting to tell a complete story. Counter to the approach, Elliott titles his compositions as "sequences" but then, not necessarily in chronological order. Beginning with "Sequence Three," a repetitive plucking morphs briefly into a bumping blues and then a separate and distinct propulsive bass line. "Sequence Eight," with extended arco techniques and percussive effects, moves between structure and improvisation.
To be clear, Still, Up In The Air is not a clinical exercise. There are dominant themes, or at least moods, such as the bounciness of "Sequence Nine" or the darker, sometimes eerier tones of "Sequence Fourteen." Elliott incorporates fragments of melodies along with his experimentation; his articulation is clear, whether playing loose or taut, and the production is free of embellishments. This is not the type of music that lends itself to written description; it needs to be heard to be appreciated. It is accessible, even when Elliott's conceptualizations seem to be surreptitious. Still, Up In The Air has a significant presence in the solo bass category."-Karl Ackermann, All About Jazz
Get additional information at All About Jazz
• Show Bio for Moppa Elliott
"A short biography from the artist:
I was born on September 13, 1978, the first son of David and Carolyn Elliott in Scranton, Pa. Incidentally, they named me Matthew Thomas Elliott, not Moppa. My parents are both college instructors and intense music lovers, so I was able to hear a lot of music growing up. After a brief introduction to the piano, I started to play the trombone in the sixth grade, and after deciding a few years later that I wanted to also play an instrument with strings, I was given an electric bass. When I was about 17, I fixed up my father's old acoustic bass in order to audition for a summer program. I then began to study the bass seriously with Pocono resident Tony Marino. In the fall of 1997, I enrolled in both Oberlin College and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music majoring in biology and Jazz bass performance in Oberlin's double-degree program. While there I was able to record my first CD, Pinpoint and to gain some experience playing in Cleveland OH for about 3 years. I was also fortunate enough to teach at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Arts for four summers. I finished school in the winter of 2001, and moved to New York City the following summer. Here in New York, I have been able to play and record with some great musicians and to continue teaching at St. Mary's High School."-Moppa Elliott Website (http://www.moppaelliott.com/who.html)
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