Music Reviews
Acceleration Due to Gravity

Moppa Elliott’s Acceleration Due to Gravity

Jonesville: Music By and For Sam Jones

Hot Cup Records

In my imagination, Jonesville is a paranormal Storyville where musicians go to party like there never was a 1999. The guest of honor at this shindig is bassist Sam Jones, who would have been 100 this year. Bassist and composer Moppa Elliot is hosting the party with his 9-piece group, Acceleration Due To Gravity. Moppa and his crew płay three early Jones compositions, along with four more written by Elliott. What all these songs have in common are a party groove, a good time vibe, and unexpected combinations of trad-sounding ensemble work and mind-shredding free soloing. It all fits together nicely in a fun, ectoplasmic dance party.

Moppa Elliott
Nathan Kuruna
Moppa Elliott

“Choice” gets the party rolling with one of Sam Jones’s tunes. The ensemble work is tight and reminds me of a New Orleans trad jazz band. On top of this you have sax players Stacy Dillard and Matt Nelson sparring with free jazz soloing. It sounds hot! “Miami Drag” similarly has a funky groove playing in the pocket while George Burton’s piano goes to town. Dave Taylor adds nice gutbucket trombone to the sauce on this tasty tune.

For his own compositions, Elliott draws on both Sam Jones tunes and the way Wu-Tang Clan and Run the Jewels use loops to underpin long jams. In Elliott’s case, these “loops” are composed sections. They never get boring because they never repeat in exactly the same way, and there are all the cool soloists blowing on top. Moppa’s songs blend nicely with the Sam Jones tunes, making Jonesville a fun place to party down. It reminds me of a comment a friend made when we were watching the Sam Rivers Orlando Big Band. Sam and his soloist were blowing crazy solos over a strong funk beat. My friend said, “See, Sam can play anything he wants if he brings the funk.”

Moppa ElliottSam Jones


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