I'll freely admit I've never "gotten" Ornette Coleman, though my antipathy is nowhere near that of the concertgoer who punched Ornette in the face after the Free Jazz icon's first New York gig. Like Coleman, Mostly Other People Do the Killing lives for nothing but treating standard jazz idioms the way David Ortiz treats batting-practice pitches. Unlike Coleman, there's such a prevailing sense of humor and irony on This is Our Moosic that you can't help but laugh and applaud, even as you repeatedly declare, "Holy shit! Did I just hear that?"
"Drainlick" has all the trappings of your standard funky Blue Note boogie tune, except those Blue Note dates saved the prerequisite kickass drum solo until the end; Kevin Shea is thrashing his kit right from the establishing riff. You hear echoes of Lee Morgan and Herbie Hancock in the melody, even though trumpeter Peter Evans and saxman Jon Irabagon are playing enough almost-sour notes to suggest anarchy without quite inciting it. The mayhem reveals itself in a slowwwwwwwwwwww middle-section blues that gets faster and wilder until the quartet is doing everything but throwing their instruments out the window.
While the madness doesn't overwhelm Moosic, there's enough of a dose in every tune so you're safely inoculated from normalcy. MOPDK parodies John Coltrane's late-career sound on the ballsy "Fagundus," and then give Boots Randolph the tribute treatment with "Two Boot Jacks," a rollicking high-speed ride that could easily be used for a classic eye-rolling Benny Hill montage. "The Bats in the Belfry" is a floating waltz (with an in-flight fight) based on Danny Elfman's Batman theme, while "East Orwell" is a smooth jazz tune played by zombies--and I mean actual brain-sucking zombies, not just your average smooth technicians.
The punk metaphor does fade when you realize just how much talent it takes to continually walk the line between "slightly skewed" and "Out to Lunch." Evans and Irabagon make up a scorching front line, and Moppa Elliott's bulbous bass lines could hold up a suspension bridge. This is our Moosic is more fun than humans should have, and is guaranteed to make jazz purists' brains go "POP!" I don't know which part of that equation I like more.