Independent Memphis Music Magazine, Winter 96/97
Review by Scott Bojko
Never Never Land
Having seen bassist Joey Moore perform with local jazz saxophonist Carl Wolfe, as well as with a spare trio, I was curious about why he risked sounding pretentious by affecting Joseph Patrick Moore for his album, NNL. The music explains: Joey Moore is the competent young sideman, Joseph Patrick Moore is the mature jazz artist, composer, and leader-no pretense. Moore’s Jazz is contemporary, with flavorings from cool to eclectic funk to nature sounds. But let labels neither attract nor deter – just listen to the soundscapes that Moore creates. Eavesdrop on a conversation as trumpet, sax, clarinet, piano, and B3 organ trade licks on SEX IN SPACE. Let BRAVE UP ride you in an agile sports car, with responsive shifts, straight-and-turns, ups-and-downs. Experience a mist, mystical rainforest in the title track. Ponder life while strolling cosmopolitan parks and streets in some CORNER OF THE WORLD. Or heck, just mellow out on the music.
Moore produced, and composed or arranged, the entire album. In addition to the bass gamut, he performs on a slew of instruments. MOMENT TO MOMENT credits Moore on everything: 5string electric and distorted fretless bass, intro voice, drum design and fills, piano, triangles, bells, shakers, strings, harp, horns. Busy guy. Beyond conventional winds, keys and drums, Moore uses all sorts of auxiliary percussion, electronics, and effects, to add intriguint accents or to weave textures under and around melodies. He gets help from two dozen featured players, including Wolfe, Harmonica cat Pete Peterson, and Posey Hedges, who co-produced. This album includes two brief dedications to jazz icons which seem to say, thanks for your inspiration, hope you like how I’ve made it my own thing. the first PAUSE honors Miles Davis, whowould scowl appreciatively at Moore’s fusion of turntable scratching with cool muted trumpet and funky bass, ending with a racing tempo transition, the kind Miles could propel telepathically in his 60’s quintet. In PAUSE 2 for Jaco Pastorius, the solo Moore invokes the late bassist’s blurry, fretless slurs, harmonics, and chording. Another homage is Moore’s slick, all-bass rendition of Coltrane’s GIANT STEPS, employing upright, distorted fretless and 5 string electric.
NNL is an impressive achievement. Listen. Appreciate how the jazz mosaic transforms as dynamic sound images, or just funks around. You get the feeling tthat Moore has lots of experimental and improvisational inventions percolating. Under any moniker, let’s hear more Moore.