Sunday, June 25, 2017
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Mostly Other People do the Killing at the Ottawa Jazz Festival

Bassist and leader Moppa Elliott of Mostly Other People Do The Killing © Brett Delmage, 2010As soon as Mostly Other People Do The Killing started at 10:30 p.m. Sunday at the OLG Stage, you could hear the boom of the bass and the drums across Confederation Park and spilling over into the surrounding streets.

The quartet – Moppa Elliott (bass), Peter Evans (trumpet),  Jon Irabagon (sax), and Kevin Shea (drums) – played 75 minutes of improvisation, based on their compositions but often including snatches from other music – everything from "A Night in Tunisia" to "The Candyman Can". They'd start out with one piece, and morph into another, with interesting side passages along the way.

Particular notable was Shea's work on his electronic drum pad, where he'd produce sounds like telephone bells and birds to complement the brass and reeds. And each of the musicians performed intricate and well-performed solos.

But the group's real talent – and my ability to listen to what they were doing – was undercut by the extreme volume at which they chose to play. At times, Shea seemed to be trying to outdo the late Keith Moon in battering his drum kit. It was difficult to grasp the subtleties of their playing because the music was extremely loud.

In their publicity, the group says they want to produce music that's "fun, engaging and thoroughly contemporary". It was that and never boring, but I think it would engage even more people at a slightly lower volume.

    – Alayne McGregor

Jon Irabagon (sax), Kevin Shea (drums), and Peter Evans (trumpet)  of Mostly Other People Do The Killing © Brett Delmage, 2010

Kevin Shea (drums) of Mostly Other People Do The Killing plays his electronic drum pad © Brett Delmage, 2010