(Following Moppa Elliott at AAJ automatically enters you in the contest.)
Your Friends at Hot Cup Records
MOPDtK formed in the fall of 2003 in New York City. Bassist and bandleader, Moppa Elliott met trumpeter Peter Evans in the fall of 1998 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, where both studied. While at Oberlin, Elliott and Evans performed together in a series of ensembles many of which were important precursors to MOPDtK. Upon relocating to New York, Elliott met saxophonist Jon Irabagon after joining Jon Lundbom's Big V Chord. The initial drummer in MOPDtK was Vincent Sperrazza who participated in the rehearsals leading up to the quartet's first gig, November 25. Sperrazza was unable to make the gig, and his last minute replacement was Kevin Shea who had met Elliott through Mary Halvorson. The performance, at a L.E.S. series curated by Will Connell at Niagra, included a solo by Shea in which he removed his shirt and whipped his drums with it. The perfect drummer had been discovered!
Initially, the repertoire of MOPDtK included both originals by Elliott, Evans and Irabagon, and jazz standards such as Skippy," Moanin'" and A Night in Tunisia." All of Elliott's compositions are always named after towns in Pennsylvania which gives his titles both conceptual distance from the musical material and an amusing back-story. The band slowly began to transform from a free-improvising jazz band, to an ensemble that deconstructed both jazz standards and Elliott's compositions, weaving in and out of styles erratically and often humorously...
About Forty Fort
From the liner notes:
When studying the work of the masters, one must try to re-create the conditions that were present during the original sessions. What was going through the minds of the men involved? What factors influenced their decisions? The weather? Travel to and from the various locations? Their health? When Roland Kirk, Tommy Flanagan, Roy Haynes, and Henry Grimes formed a quartet, their personal histories and current tastes combined to create an artistic work of profound significance and historical importance: Out of the Afternoon."
The world has witnessed countless changes over the course of the 47 years between Out of the Afternoon" and today. Some of the ideas that were both appropriate and stylish in the 1960's have changed, and certain elements contained here were never in style" During the intervening decades, many other important musicians added new branches to the jazz tree, some bearing greater and greater weight as their importance waxed while that of others waned...
From the critics:
This is music that requires something of the listener, but is also a lot of fun. It may be that the band has flushed out all the cliches of tradition, but in its anarchistic scope and vision, Forty Fort sticks close to the true spirit of jazz." - Jakob Baekgaard, AllAboutJazz
From Duke Ellington to Phil Collins, Mostly Other People Do the Killing show a wide range of influences and the strands that connect them all together. The band's banter is energizing and personifies their multiple attributes, displaying 100 years of music history in the coiling weaves of their sound bytes." - JazzTimes