The Coimbra Concert
The Coimbra Concert, a two-disc set from the zany punk-jazz band Mostly Other People Do the Killing, is jazz’s answer to those mash-up mixtapes created by artists like Girl Talk and DJ Car Stereo (Wars). Think of it as attention-deficit jazz, in the mold of Stars on 45.
On this latest effort, recorded live at a festival in Portugal, the quartet of trumpeter Peter Evans, saxophonist Jon Irabagon, bassist Moppa Elliott and drummer Kevin Shea continues to walk a fine line between irony and ridicule. The group has a penchant for designing album covers that, depending on your perspective, either mock or pay tribute to classic jazz LPs. This time, however, MOPDTK is picking on someone who isn’t exactly known for his sense of humor—the jacket for The Coimbra Concert is a spoof of Keith Jarrett’s The Köln Concert. If you think it’s an homage, get a load of the expression on Elliott’s face in the gatefold.
The Coimbra Concert might at first appear like a live recording of material from MOPDTK’s previous three albums. This is not the case. The nine songs listed on the jacket are merely the melodies that launch each long performance. It is difficult to keep track of how many tunes are being played or what, in fact, they are. Original material runs headlong into snatches from “Night Train,” “Our Love Is Here to Stay,” “A Night in Tunisia” and other standards. Irabagon might blow a long, thoughtful solo and then engage in a squawk-fest with Evans. Major four-way thrashing can show up in any old place. It’s not for everyone, but at least The Coimbra Concert can’t be accused of being boring.