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Artist of the Month - MAY 2004

Joseph Patrick Moore - Bassist - Atlanta, GeorgiaJoseph Patrick Moore - Atlanta, Georgia
On the top of the bottom
By Patrick Ferris



Atlanta based bass virtuoso and composer Joseph Patrick Moore is definitely a bass player’s bass player as well as a musician’s musician in every aspect, from performance to composition and arranging. A lot of his music, both in bass tone and song arrangement, reminds me of the 1970s fusion band Weather Report, and the late genius Jaco Pastorius.

Much like that of his musical influences, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, Miles Davis and many others, JPM’s music has a way of getting into your head and rolling around in there for days. I found myself humming several melodies off his latest album Drum & Bass Society.

I feel that bebop jazz is the pinnacle of performance, but it wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I began to understand what the genre was all about. I remember growing up hearing it and wondering why the music was so busy and why there were so many ‘wrong’ notes. It wasn’t until much later when I had a better understanding of music that I realized that music wasn’t necessarily about creating music that fell within the boundaries of western musical influence or about music that made you feel good…it was about expressing or creating a mood. JPM is an absolute master of doing this, and as I mentioned in my original review, Drum & Bass Society is a musician’s album. He’s done a fantastic job of setting moods, creating new innovative arrangements and songs that, in my opinion, are present day modern jazz classics.

In addition, JPM is outstanding on bass. Being a bass player myself, the things of which I’m most critical as well as the things that I think make an outstanding bass player are not necessarily speed, dexterity, or how many notes you can squeeze into one measure. It’s about how tasty it is; the creativity and originality of the soloing, phrasing, and how adept the artist is at setting a mood.

JPM has a sound that is both classic and innovative, setting a new standard for modern day jazz-fusion. You can only reinvent jazz so many times; anybody that can do so and make it sound fresh and new gets kudos from me.


HotBands - I think it's always cool to start at the beginning. One of the things I try to do is find what motivated you because in turn, it may inspire one of the readers. When did you find your interest in music?

Joseph Patrick Moore - Bassist - Atlanta, GeorgiaJPM - I was probably 7ish. My sister and my parents really encouraged me. The things that motivated me were the sound of music around our house and school in Knoxville, Tennessee. Alto sax was my first instrument and my band director, Chet Hedgecoth, was a major inspiration from 4th to 9th grades. In high school, my teacher was John Abel who was friends with Chet, so I would see him from time to time. John was a great person as well, and I feel very lucky and blessed to have an environment of encouragement and inspiration. I am a big believer in music education.

HotBands - Did you have private lessons?

JPM - Yes a little on the sax. I got much more focused when I started private bass lessons. I studied with Rusty Holloway, who currently teaches at the University of TN in Knoxville.

HotBands - How old were you when you started bass, and why did you want to play bass instead of being the next Charlie Parker?

JPM - Unfortunately I didn't know who Charlie Parker was until much later. I had pretty much quit playing alto by that time. Jaco Pastorius and Clint Eastwood were the reasons I first learned about Bird. As far as choosing bass, I loved the low rumble. I played bass drum for two years in high school marching band, which is partly why I made the shift to the low end.

HotBands – Clint Eastwood? Why him?

JPM - Clint Eastwood is a big jazz fan. In the late 80's he directed a movie called Bird, starring Forrest Whitaker. My first mind explosion though was when Rusty (my bass teacher) played me Miles Davis - Bitches Brew

HotBands - What was Rusty Holloway doing at the time you took bass lessons, and why/how did you get him as a teacher?

JPM - Aside from teaching bass at UTK. Rusty taught at a local music store. I had no idea who he was, and certainly had no idea of the impact he would have on my life! I started playing bass at age 16, which I feel is late, and I have been working hard at trying to overcome that. Before learning from, I was into rock, metal, The Police, etc… I had no concept of jazz, which is why I was unaware of Bird.

HotBands - Rusty got your inspiration focused, and I know that once people start to learn, they usually devour everything they can get their hands on. Where did it go from there, and what did you see yourself doing musically once you graduated high school? Did you have long term plans (like any of us do that make any sense at that age)?

JPM – When I graduated high school, I knew I wanted to study hard and get good at bass. I was around 20 when Rusty played me Miles Davis' Bitches Brew record. That sent me off the cliff. I'll never forget that moment when I first heard that haunting repetitive bass line and when Miles finally came -wow!! From there, I started to go back with jazz history from 1969-1989.Joseph Patrick Moore - Bassist - Atlanta, Georgia

JPM - I was in a band with Nick Raskulinecz who now is a producer in Los Angeles. Brian Bell (from Weezer) was hanging around as well. We mainly played a lot of hard rock and metal at parties, so I was in the rock scene. One of the first bass pieces/solos that inspired me was Cliff Burton of Metallica. I transcribed "Anesthesia" from their Kill 'em all record. It was really cutting edge for heavy metal bass. When I entered UTK, my focus shifted to jazz. Miles (Davis) touched my soul and really moved me.

HotBands - You went on to major in music at University of Tennessee Knoxville; Once you were in college, you started hooking up with some heavy players in the jazz circuit. How did this come about? Were you spotted as a virtuoso or did you have an 'in' thru Rusty?

JPM - Rusty was pushing me along as well as other teachers that I studied with, including Donald Brown (Art Blakey), Jerry Coker (Jaco, Pat Metheny), Keith Brown, Mark Boiling and others. I am a product of hard work...I certainly think that helped.

HotBands - Did you pursue the idea of having a band like Metallica and touring, or did you see yourself as a studio pro?

JPM - I guess it’s everybody's dream to tour and share music that you love with people that know your music. I certainly didn't have much of a clue about the studio world. That was much later as well.

HotBands – You’ve often been compared with Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in your composing and arranging style. Your stuff is so out there... reminds me of what Miles Davis might have done if he were interpreting today’s culture What is their influence on your style?

JPM - Thanks cool. I could go on and on about both Miles and Herbie. The contributions and the music that they shared could take an eternity to fully digest. Both so prolific! They are true virtuosos and in my top 10.

HotBands - Tell me a little about age 22-30. What were your goals, path, journey and experience?

JPM - From age 22-25 I moved to Memphis. Went to school at the University of Memphis. I started playing on Beale Street 7 nights a week with some amazing musicians. That's where I learned a 360 of what I experienced in Knoxville. From 26-30 I was really focusing on my music and playing standards.

HotBands - When you write your arrangements, do you visualize what you want it to sound like ahead of time or do you experiment as you get in the studio? Or is it some combination of both?

HotBands - What was the diff between University of Memphis and Knoxville?

Joseph Patrick Moore - Bassist - Atlanta, GeorgiaJPM - UM had a commercial music program. They had a full-fledged recording studio. As a performance major, we had to record often with various student projects. That's where I got my first taste of the recording process. I got hooked and started learning as much as possible about mic placement, engineers and producers roles. We (friends/students) would often go in to the studio late at night and hit the record button and go. I have tapes and tapes of that stuff. UM and the faculty were great teachers! I was getting the studio experience at UM and in Memphis, at the clubs, I was getting the real education.

JPM - I enjoyed school and learned a great deal. However, I enjoyed the nightlife better…the clubs, the sounds, the comradery, the experience. I worked hard in school and was blessed to have great bass teachers at UM as well. Scott Reed and Tim Goodwin, both amazing players.

HotBands - Your music reminds me of Art Blakey as well.

JPM - Thank you. I saw Art in NY at a club in Times Square three months before he died. Chuck Mangoine and Betty Carter were in the audience. Benny Green was playing piano. I think he was 16. That was another night that had a huge impact on me. It's funny that there are all these small moments and significant people that come into your life. They are the ones that really help to shape who we are.

HotBands - I'm listening to your 'Pause for Peace'. It’s very abstract; like a bad dream. You did a good job with creating a visual image.

JPM - Thank you! Yes it was a bad dream! It's probably hard for you to concentrate with Pause. That's a pretty psychotic piece.

HotBands - I think that one of the things that attracted me the most to your music was the ability to not only create fantastic arrangements that are classics the moment they are written, but your ability to create a complete visual image with sound, sound bites, arrangement choice and ambient noise.

JPM - I really try to visualize a picture in mind. I try to express this and create moods. That was one of the biggest lesson I learned. It's not about all the notes. It's partly about the mood, which is set by key, tempo, and instrumentation. Again, I go back to Bitches Brew. Listen to that cut. Listen to the creepy beginning. Listen to how the bass creeps in and takes hold of you...then Miles...It's all about Tension and Release.

HotBands - Explain to our readers what drives your inspiration to create and what your process is. Give me your inside view of the world of music.

JPM - My drive to create...that's tough. It's just in me. I feel a need and an urgency to create. I love to create music both in a live setting and in the studio. As far as the process I take it really varies. I have no set way of doing things, except I am very regimented. I write things down a lot and try to be aware of the time (time management). Every project I have ever been involved in has happened and resulted in many chances and meetings, which led to being at the right place at the right time. I have always had a vision, but it necessarily hasn't all gone according to plan.

HotBands - How so? Elaborate a bit on how things changed for you and what you did to adapt.

JPM - I keep moving forward and try to grow as a person then a player. I'm always trying to evolve in my practice routine, my playing, and my writing. As a musician who is always working on improvisation, I have had to improvise my way through life (Haven't we all?).Joseph Patrick Moore - Bassist - Atlanta, Georgia Sometimes one project or recording or performance with a particular artist will set my sights, sounds and vision on a whole new course. It is important however to have a focus and a long term vision on what you really want to accomplish, because if you don’t, it's easy to get distracted. Life's lessons should never end. When it does, and when you think you know it all, you’re finished.

HotBands - What do you feel about how the Internet has changed music?

JPM - Gil Scott Heron said the revolution wouldn’t be televised. He was right...it was computerized. If it weren’t for the Internet, I probably wouldn't be talking with you right now. I don't just mean the chat, I mean the fact that you know about me (my music and website) and I know about HotBands.com. The Internet has revolutionized the way the world operates, moves and shakes. The Net has changed the way music is being sought, bought and traded.

HotBands - How about how it is affecting the recording industry? Are you pro or against recording of your music live shows and trading of music files?

JPM - I think artists have to be compensated for their work. We all have to eat and feed our families. At the same time, I have pledged to give away at least one song as a promo from each recording that I do. Not only is it a way to expose the music and gain new fans, but I see a pure value of sharing music…similar to The Grateful Dead, but in a more controlled way. Sometimes in this capitalistic society, it's hard to put a price on music. Just like art...How do you put a price on it? What does that mean? It either moves you or it doesn't.

JPM - I'm currently writing a collaborative book to be released this fall entitled, "The Inside Track". My portion is about this very subject: The Internet and its effects.

HotBands - Tell me about the book

JPM - I was recently approached about contributing to this. The book is by musicians and for musicians. There are four writers. A Producer (Buzz Amato from Curtis Mayfield; produced my Soul Cloud CD); a publisher; a record label executive; and myself (artist). We share and give our insights on all to get from point A to point B. I have never done anything quite like this, so it was very challenging figuring out how to get from point A to B.

HotBands - I think if you don't give at least SOME of it away, people won't know about you. From what I've seen, there has been a HUGE underground following of bands not involved with the major labels that found their fan base through file trading.

JPM - File trading is here to stay. They can't sue their way out of that one.

HotBands - What has been some of your biggest highlights musically?

JPM - Some of my biggest highlights? Man that's tough! In the studio, it was recording with Jimmy Herring (The Allman Brothers & The Dead) that was very inspiring. In a live setting, I have had so many memorable moments, some of which were only experienced by the cats on the bandstand. You got me on this one…I have never really though of it in those terms. I strive not to look back at the past much. I try to keep looking ahead and striving for a better day. I guess that's the Miles/Herbie in me.

HotBands - How many of your songs have full chart arrangements when you go in the studio?

JPM - 90%. I try to take as much of the guess work out as possible. However, I live and yearn for those improvised moments. So much magic can happen. Kind of like Wizard the Oz meets Willy Wonka

Joseph Patrick Moore - Bassist - Atlanta, GeorgiaHotBands - By taking the guess work out, do you mean having charts pre-written or does each of the musicians add their own improvisation?

JPM - I let each of the musicians’ improvisation and add their own stamp on the tune---absolutely! I mean, I try to take the guess work out of the form...The way the song starts, ends...the overall form, the instrumentation, who is taking a solo. I really thrive on letting the magic happen, at the same time I try not to waste time in the studio. I am very aware of the clock, so whatever I can do to minimize this, the better the sessions will go.

HotBands - Everything has been rehearsed many times I’m sure, but I guess I was digging at finding out how much of the chart is actual notes and how much is chord progressions

JPM - The melody, key, tempo is always written (notation) and sometimes the harmony. The chord changes are written down, but beyond that -it is up to the artist to add their unique improve/voice over the changes...

HotBands - From a position of marketing yourself, you're obviously an incredibly talented musician, but you've played with some heavies as well as being selected for your part in that book; is it more playing that hustle or vice-versa? There are lots of talented musicians that aren't where you are today that would like to know your formula.

JPM - My formula is don't stop. By any means necessary! Whatever it takes! The only rule to a successful business, is just STAY in business. I keep striving to not rest on my butt too long, however sometimes it's nice! Seriously, I push my self to the point of madness sometimes.

HotBands - You also crank out CDs every couple of years...that plus studio gigs plus live shows, touring etc.when do you have any time?

JPM - I devote my life to it. That's the only way.

JPM - Imagine if you were going to be in the Olympics or your job was to play a baseball game. That was your profession. You were paid to play/entertain. What is the motivation? Well in music, it's certainly not the money. SO what is the real driving force behind the ambition...This is the answer. Field of Dreams...make sense?

HotBands - Where do you go from here? What is your next step beyond the book, another CD?

JPM - Currently I am working with a booking agent and we are working on some performance dates and a few bass clinics. I want the performances to lead to a live CD recording. That is something that I am really striving for at this point. I do have another CD in the can and it will be available in the near future, exclusively on the Internet at http://www.privateconcert.com

HotBands - Is there anything else you'd like to add to this interview? Do you have any advice to passionate musicians?Joseph Patrick Moore - Bassist - Atlanta, Georgia

JPM - Follow your heart...Always.... When you have a passion and a love for something, it flows, brings joy, no matter on what level or to how many people you are in front of. Passion can't be taught. If you have "the flame" burning inside of you, you must guard it and keep it burning bright. Never let anyone get in the way of that....

HotBands - By the way...if I haven’t' thanked you for your contributions to the world of music, I'd like to do that now...you're really a fantastic musician and it's awesome that I can sit down with you and talk candidly

JPM - Oh man! I’m just trucking through life trying to figure it all out. I appreciate it bro.

For more information on Joseph Patrick Moore, CLICK HERE



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