I have not listened to Mostly Other People Do the Killing’s Blue (Hot Cup Records, 2014), other than the samples on Squidco. But one of those samples is the opening passage to “So What.” I don’t have Kind of Blue memorized, but I do know those opening bars, and it sounds like they really did reproduce the track — every note.
That’s the concept behind Blue, which you might call more a performance-art piece than a normal album. It’s a re-creation of Kind of Blue, as close to the original as they could get, with lone saxophonist Jon Irabagon overdubbing the Coltrane and Cannonball Adderly parts.
The re-creation does seem to include the solos — again, judging by the one solo passage I know by heart: the first notes of the “So What” trumpet part. What’s more impressive is that they re-created the drumming, something I hadn’t considered before listening. In some ways, Kevin Shea had the hardest job of all.
It’s easy to pass off Blue as a joke, but the more I think about the idea, the more I feel myself getting obsessed with it. It seems like an irresistible personal challenge. To pull this off is worth some bragging rights. And what better way to not only pay homage to a record that, most likely, tops the list of early influences for all these guys, while at the same time getting deeper into the music, finding out what made it tick and sparkle.
I can see how this could build into an obsession over the years, until that day finally comes: “OK, let’s do this. Seriously, let’s get to work.” And Downtown Music Gallery notes that this is Peter Evans’ last album with the band, so it’s nice to bow out with a keen bit of precision jazz acrobatics.
I’m not sure I’m going to buy Blue. But I’m glad they did it.