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Mostly Other People Do the Killing: Slippery Rock

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Mostly Other People Do the Killing has taken on some pretty sacred cows in jazz over the years. While the group is ultimately out to have a good time rather than put anyone down, its prankish avant-jazz zeal can sometimes be a bit much. Knowing that the band’s new album takes aim at the smooth-jazz genre should elicit equal amounts fascination and dread.

Don’t judge a disc by its cover, but realize the lads have outdone themselves on Slippery Rock‘s pastels-laden artwork, which could belong to any slick jazz album from the ’80s. But beyond the hammy poses and faux lightning bolts, the smooth-jazz influence isn’t all that prominent. Bassist-composer Moppa Elliott is a groove anchor, holding down the fort with simple riffs while his bandmates go wild, but he hasn’t traded in his upright for a fretless electric bass. This is still the MOPDtK that we’ve come to love, full of smart compositions that nearly fall apart under a sea of percussive clatter and horn arguments yet always manage to come out swinging hard.

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