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Artist Profiles

Don Moore

By Published: May 28, 2006
Given Moore's extensive recording and performing background, it's surprising that he yet to release an album as a leader. Given his pedigree, and his extensive jazz vocabulary, it would seem that he would have a whole lot to say that's new and important. But it's something he seems reluctant to do. "I don't know why. I've seen a lot of bass players [who] haven't had albums as [leaders]. I think it's something that's sort of endemic to bass playing, Moore mused. "My feeling about recording right now is that it would really require not just going out there and making another pancake but to really do something different. If you don't have anything different to say, it's not worth saying.

"I would like to be able to try a concept where the ensemble would be more of the focal point rather than the soloist. I think that for a long time the music has been led by good leaders, very good leaders, icons of the music. Right now, we have a tremendous amount of icons that have taken the music in a different direction. And to me that direction is really more focused on how the ensemble approaches the music. What I mean by that is that right now, even the younger players are still using the same format: you play the head, the horns will probably take a solo, then there's the rhythm section solo, then there's fours, then there's the head, then you take it out, then you count another tune off. And I'm bored with that format. It needs to be challenged. And I just would like to see something else happen with the way music is presented that would be more of a continuum. Segues between tunes, using the instrumentation and the ensemble not just as a vehicle for soloists. If I was able to establish that as a concept, and really develop it, [then] I'd be ready to make a statement."

Moore still plays occasionally in the New York area, and until recently played a regular Thursday night show with pianist and flautist Lucy Galliher at Perk's up in Harlem. "[I] was at Perk's for awhile but when the opportunity to take a break came, I took it. Lucy wants to go back there, so I told her I would try it if we could do something different. Lucy's been a good, supportive comrade, so I wouldn't turn her down. I was at The Stone with a trio. I like The Stone, it's sort of like a recital space. And I'm into a lot of corporate stuff, like the trios and special events. That's where most of my playing and my finances are. I've been working with Michael Howell, a guitarist who's been around awhile. He's [been] at the Village Restaurant down on 9th Street off of Sixth [Avenue] for the longest time. In fact, his name's actually on the menu, so he's been around awhile. When your name's on the menu, that's a pretty secure gig!"

Recommended Listening:

· Archie Shepp/Bill Dixon Quartet (Savoy, 1962)

· New York Contemporary Five - Consequences (Fontana, 1963)

· John Tchicai/Archie Shepp - Rufus (Fontana, 1963)

· Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Kirk in Copenhagen (Mercury, 1963)

· Elvin Jones - Midnight Walk (Atlantic, 1966)

· Clifford Thornton New Art Ensemble - Freedom and Unity (Third World, 1967)

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