As on previous MOPDtK's releases, this one is charged with amazing virtuoso performances, brilliant ideas, and a richly nuanced knowledge of music history marked by a vibrant sense of adventure and tons of humor. The flux of ideas is constant and democratic, as if no member of the quartet leads the music, as these ideas shift and transform between tempi, dynamics and genres, resulting in contrasting layers of information, often within the same composition. Also as with earlier releases, the pieces are named after the odd and unbelievable names of towns from Elliot's home state of Pennsylvania.
MOPDtK's post-modern reconstruction of jazz styles does not mock past master innovations but stresses the need and importance of playfulness in music. The compositions hop between funky boogaloo to abstract improvisation ("Drainlick"), dixieland mixed with cartoonish dynamics ("Two Boot Jacks") and updated 1960s macho post-bop a-la Coltrane, Rollins and Henderson ("Fagundus"). A mix of themes includes a "Batman" and Claude Debussy composition ("The Bats In Belfry") and greasy pop jazz ("East Orwell"). Other enjoyable tracks contain a muscular bluesy vamp ("My Delightful Blues"), an ironic construction of three rhythm changes based on Coltrane's "Giant Steps" ("Biggertown"), an attempt to encompass all blues cliches ("Effort, Patience, Diligence") and a heartfelt comic cover of Billy Joel's "Allentown."
Brilliant. This release guarantees many joyful hours, appreciating the thoughtful performances while attempting to contextualize the myriad quotes and references scattered throughout.
Eyal Hareuveni - allaboutjazz.com