MOPDTK is a recent group formed in NYC. In this ensemble, I attempt to write compositions that reflect the strange relationship I feel to jazz history. On the one hand, I grew up listening to and still love traditional jazz, but on the other, I am deeply disturbed and disgusted with its current state of turpitude. This music, instead of attempting to reconcile these two simultaneous opinions, pits them against each other creating music that both blatantly mocks and reveres the jazz tradition. Perhaps Dada-Jazz?
Liner notes for MOPDtK:
What little establishment there is in jazz is creating a surreal pick-and-choose history, canonizing only a fraction of what has occurred within the jazz tradition. This conservative faction is bent upon surrounding "true jazz" with barriers to protect it from being tarnished by the impurities of the music it has grown into. (The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra plays the music of Cecil Taylor? I think not.) Well, I like my jazz with some dirt on it, sometimes a lot of dirt. Jazz has started to take itself too seriously and is in danger of falling into the same stagnant condition that so-called "classical music" is in now. Perhaps that's what some people want, but if we are moving towards sterile, historically accurate renditions of once vibrant pieces of music, I want nothing to do with it. Bring out the mud...the more the merrier. Duke Ellington wrote some of the greatest music in the history of human culture, and I love to play his tunes, but I writhe in agony every time I hear someone attempt to "pay homage" to the man by trying to re-record the same arrangements with solos that imitate the original. I don't need that, I own the original. Rather than just make music that fits within some artificial "tradition" or music that rejects jazz completely, I would rather make music that uses jazz' identity crisis against it, piling as many nonsensical musical associations together as possible to create music that is aware of its own inconsistencies, ironies, and contradictions and likes it that way. Standing on the shoulders of giants makes it easier to kick them in the teeth.
So, this is my band, and this is our music. All of these tunes are named after actual towns in western Pennsylvania that I've never been to. I wrote each of them while thinking about other places or people or whatever. Since program music is an elitist dream, and they'd sound exactly the same if I named them after myths, or biological processes, or my pets, I decided that these towns have names worthy of being used as song titles. A rose by any other name..
Peter Evans on trumpets, Jon Irabagon on saxophones, Moppa Elliott on bass, and Kevin Shea on drums and percussion.