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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Forty Fort

Hotcup 091



1. Pen Argyl
2. Rough and Ready
3. Blue Ball
4. Nanticoke Coke
5. Little Hope
6. Forty Fort
7. Round Bottom, Square Top
8. St. Mary’s Proctor
9. Cute

Peter Evans – Trumpet
Jon Irabagon – Alto sax, tenor sax
Moppa Elliott – Bass
Kevin Shea – Drums, electronics


Imagine if you will, that you are in your favourite record shop browsing for something interesting in the “M” jazz section where there are albums by Monk, Mulligan, and Mingus and you come across a disc by a group called Mostly Other People Do The Killing. Do you say “My, what an interesting group name” or do you simply pass it over and wonder “What could they possibly be thinking?”

Is it possible for a group with such an unappealing name to put together a disc entitled Forty Fort that is full of interesting and swinging jazz? Although the group has a more or less traditional jazz configuration of trumpet, sax, bass and drums, and each member has a polished command of their instrument, any expectation that this might translate into a musical form that would be open to the listener does not happen. While this may be called “new music”, it would be a stretch to call it jazz.

Of the nine tracks on the disc, eight are compositions by bass player Moppa Elliott having titles such as Pen Argyl, Nanticoke Coke, Forty Fort and Round Bottom, Square Top with the other by Neil Hefti entitled Cute originally written for the Count Basie Band. In this case, the theme is repeated throughout the track, separated by uninteresting drum breaks, and then dissolves into a series of high-pitched squeaks.

In trying to find instruction with respect to both the group and the compositions, often the liner notes can provide some guidance. Not in this case. The liner notes, in additional to requiring a strong light and a magnifying glass to read, appear to be written for an entirely different group led by Roland Kirk accompanied by Tommy Flanagan, Henry Grimes and Roy Haynes.

Finally is there an audience in an already shrinking jazz market for a group like this? Perhaps, but it is going to be very hard to find.

Pierre Giroux

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