This Tuesday we were pleased to host Moppa Elliott from the band Mostly Other People Do the Killing on The Music Room.
Mostly Other People Do the Killing (MOPDtK) has released six albums and won the Downbeat Critics’ Poll in the Rising Star Ensemble category. They pay homage to jazz by deconstructing both its standards and earlier pieces, combining those features with new ideas, creating a high energy music that celebrates what’s come before and pushes the music forward.
Their unpredictable switching of styles mid-piece, their humorous and interactive performances, and their naming of each new piece after “a small town in Pennsylvania,” has earned them critical acclaim.
MOPDtK has toured throughout the Northeast and Midwest, from Chicago to Boston, and in 2009, made its first trip to Europe for the Moer Festival. Their most recent CD, Hannover, captures a live concert from a late 2014 appearance in Hannover, Germany.
Their 2014 album Blue is an homage–years in the making–to Miles Davis’ classic Kind of Blue LP, originally recorded in 1958 and released in 1959. It was fascinating to hear Moppa talk about the process of producing MOPDtK’s Blue.
Moppa also revealed how he balances his musical career with his teaching profession, and how the origins of the band’s name, Mostly Other People Do the Killing, has its roots in the history of both electronic music AND the Soviet Union.
(Recorded live 03/10/15; host: Mandorichard), 31:28, 30.2 MB.
The following music is heard in this episode of The Music Room:
- Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Date / Notes
- Mostly Other People Do the Killing / Bird in Hand / Red Hot / 2012
- Mostly Other People Do the Killing / Blue in Greeen / Blue / 2014
- Mostly Other People Do the Killing / Is Granny Spry? / Slippery Rock / 2013 (Excerpt)
Mark Tamsula, fiddle, and Richard Withers, banjo and other instruments, have released two wonderful CDs of tunes and songs from Western Pennsylvania: Up in the Batten House (2011) and Up Jumped Joe in the Middle of It (2013). Most of the tunes and songs are from the two collections of Western Pennsylvania music compiled by Samuel Bayard between 1928 and the 1960s: Hill Country Tunes (1944) and Dance to the Fiddle, March to the Fife: Instrumental folk tunes of Pennsylvania (1982).
On a trip to Pittsburgh in September 2013, I had the chance to stop by Richard’s house to record an interview in which they talked about some of the great old tunes from the Bayard collections, the mixture of fife and fiddle traditions in the area, the process of bringing tunes to life from the printed page, and the process of “finding” the tune, trying for what the source fiddler might have enjoyed about the tune.
At their website, they write this about their music:
Between 1928 and 1963, Samuel Bayard and his collaborators traveled throughout southwestern Pennsylvania collecting and transcribing nearly 1000 traditional folk tunes. The intent was to “show something of what the older Pennsylvania tradition really consisted of” – “pre-radio, pre-tape, pre-TV” (Bayard, 1982, p. 2). Their sources were largely country dance fiddlers, but also fifers, who carried on a once widespread but now relatively obscure tradition of American marching music. Most of the tunes we play on [these recordings] are taken from the Bayard collection, and all are traditional tunes played in Pennsylvania until recent times.
For more information about Mark and Richard’s CDs:www.snappinbug.com.
Interview with Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers (Recorded 9/15/13; original broadcast date: 11/5/13; host: Mandorichard). 30:06, 28.9 MB.
The following music appeared on this episode of The Music Room:
- Artist / Song / Album (or note) / Label (or source) / Date
Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / Rosemont Quadrille / Up Jumped Joe in the Middle of It / Snappin’ Bug / 2013
Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / Black-Eyed Susie / Up in the Batten House / Snappin’ Bug / 2011
Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / The Snowy Hill, My Last Fall, O Dear Mother my Toes are Sore / Up Jumped Joe in the Middle of It / Snappin’ Bug / 2013
Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / Snappin’ Bug, Pine Top / Up in the Batten House / Snappin’ Bug / 2011
Mark Tamsula and Richard Withers / Dick’s Handspike / Up in the Batten House / Snappin’ Bug / 2011