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Mostly Other People Do The Killing


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Mostly Other People Do The Killing is a band whose name is indicative of its radical nature, so "Blue," a new rendition of Miles Davis' landmark 1959 album, "Kind Of Blue," might not seem in character. But MOPDTK is not just putting its own spin on a classic like many jazz artists do; this is a note-for note recreation.

That means every nuance of saxophone solos by John Coltrane and Julian "Cannonball" Adderley is played by Jon Irabagon. Every trumpet solo by Davis is recreated by Peter Evans. Piano vamps and solos once played by Bill Evans and Wynton Kelly, bass lines by Paul Chambers, and drum parts by Jimmy Cobb, are meticulously rendered by Ron Stabinsky, leader Moppa Elliott, and Kevin Shea.

Is MOPDTK suggesting that jazz is now classical? Is the group like an orchestra recording yet another rendition of Beethoven's 7th? Are in-the-moment improvisations, once committed to vinyl, as important as etched-in-stone concertos, many of which began as improvised melodies? Yes, but it's more absurd than that.

The blue-on-blue liner notes consist of one thing: "Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote," a 1939 story by Jorge Luis Borges, defending the fictional Menard whose ambition was "to produce a number of pages which coincided — word for word and line for line — with those of Miguel de Cervantes." Later in the story Borges writes a line that could serve as a review of "Blue": "There is no intellectual exercise that is not ultimately pointless."

Adding to the absurdity, the album sounds absolutely wonderful.