Home » Jazz Musicians » Bob Moses

Bob Moses

A fine drummer, Bob Moses has received his strongest recognition as a colorful and adventurous arranger/composer for large ensembles. He played as a teenager with Rahsaan Roland Kirk (1964- 1965), formed the early fusion group Free Spirits with Larry Coryell (1966), and toured with Gary Burton's quartet (1967-1969).

Moses collaborated with Dave Liebman in the trio Open Sky, recorded with Gary Burton in the mid- '70s, and worked with Jack DeJohnette's Compost, Pat Metheny (recording Bright Size Life), Mike Gibbs, Hal Galper, Gil Goldstein, Steve Swallow, the Steve Kuhn/Sheila Jordan group (1979-1982), George Gruntz's Concert Jazz Band, and Emily Remler (1983-1984).

He recorded as a composer for his own Mozown label in 1975, but Moses' reputation as a writer rests primarily with his Gramavision releases, especially When Elephants Dream of Music (1982), Visit With the Great Spirit (1983), and 1994's Time Stood Still. Nishoma was issued in fall 2000.

"Everything I do, I want to swing. I think music needs to swing no matter how abstract it gets. In fact, the more abstract, the more intellectual it gets, the more it needs to swing because that's the balancing factor." -Bob Moses

Bob Moses began playing drums at the age of ten and was composing music by the time he was fourteen. His father, Richard Moses, was a press agent for various jazz artists including Charles Mingus, Max Roacch and Rashaan Roland Kirk. He first sat in with Mingus when he was about 12 and in 1964 began playing drums on two of Roland Kirk's albums. Soon after he became an important part of the 1960s new jazz scene, playing in groups with guitarist Larry Coryell and later, in 1968 with the ground breaking Gary Burton quartet.

After touring with famed drummer Jack DeJohnette, and saxophonist Harold Vick in 1973, he went on to play with the Mike Gibbs orchestra in 1974 and rejoined Gary Burton's group in 1974. In 1975 he recorded the brilliant trio album Bright Size Life with Pat Metheny and the late Jaco Pastorious. He also started his own record label, Mozown Records, and released Bittersuite in The Ozone and the critically acclaimed albums, When Elephants Dream of Music (1982) and Visit With The Great Spirit (1983). These two albums firmly established Moses as a highly original composer and orchestrator in addition to his percussion prowess.

Currently an instructor at the New England Conservatory of Music, Moses continues to be regarded as one of the most original and daring modern jazz musicans.

Read more


Album Review

Samo Salamon: Dances Of Freedom

Read "Dances Of Freedom" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Slovenian guitarist Samo Salamon released a top-ten-of-the-year masterpiece CD in 2022, Dolphyolgy: Complete Eric Dolphy For Solo Guitar (Samo Records). On this tribute to the late reedman who was always an unconventional, free-flying artist, Salamon examined every composition in the Dolphy songbook. Dolphy for guitar was a surprise and certainly must have been a challenge. Salamon rose to it with an improvisatory zeal and affection for the reedman's work. The guitarist expands his palette in 2024 with Dances ...

Album Review

Alma Tree: Sonic Alchemy Suprema

Read "Sonic Alchemy Suprema" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

New York native Ra Kalam Bob Moses grew up in the same building as Max Roach, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones. Early on he saw performances by many of the best jazz drummers in history, including Roy Haynes, Rashied Ali, Milford Graves, Billy Higgins, and Ed Blackwell. As a teenager in the mid-1960s, he played with Rahsaan Roland Kirk. Moses was not only destined to be a drummer; he had soaked up a variety of jazz styles and sub-genres that ...

Liner Notes

Hal Galper Quintet: Live at the Berlin Philharmonic 1977

Read "Hal Galper Quintet: Live at the Berlin Philharmonic 1977" reviewed by Paul Rauch

Sullivan County, New York, is a long way from the grind of the jazz scene in New York City. For iconic pianist Hal Galper, it has been home for some forty five years. The area has long drawn artists attracted to its rural lifestyle, and quick access to the city. For Galper, his move represented a bit of a repose lifestyle-wise, after spending many years on the road and in the studio with the likes of Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderly ...

Liner Notes

Larry Coryell: Improvisations: Best of the Vanguard Years

Read "Larry Coryell: Improvisations: Best of the Vanguard Years" reviewed by Josef Woodard

There have been many smoother operators in the world of jazz guitar than Larry Coryell, the brainy rough rider who was a natural-born fusioneer, in the best sense. There have been cleaner technicians on the instrument, with a more lucid sense of identity and careers that have followed a logical, rolling landscape. But not many have quite attained Coryell's strange, madly eclectic state of grace: into music he came, he saw and heard things not yet articulated, he conquered on ...

Album Review

Adam Berenson, Scott Barnum & Bob Moses: Assemblages

Read "Assemblages" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Keyboardist and composer Adam Berenson has at his disposal an arsenal of instruments, electronics, synthesizers, etc. But to hear him in the traditional acoustic piano trio setting is immensely enjoyable, while hardly “traditional." On the double-disc Assemblages, Berenson puts aside his Korg Triton Extreme, Yamaha Symphonic Ensemble and other impressively named and plugged-in instruments in favour of the piano and colleagues Scott Barnum on double-bass and Bob Moses on percussion. The trio previously released three albums on the Dream Play ...

Album Review

Hal Galper Quintet: Live At The Berlin Philharmonic 1977

Read "Live At The Berlin Philharmonic 1977" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

It must be gratifying to accomplish everything you set out to do. Pianist Hal Galper says he has done just that. And, after a career that included work with trumpeter Chet Baker and saxophonists Cannonball Adderley and Stan Getz, along with a ten year stint in saxophonist Phil Woods' band (1980-1990), followed by ten years of touring and recording with his own trio, that claim would have been a valid one then, before the dawn of the new millennium. But ...

Album Review

Rakalam Bob Moses: Song of the Free Will

Read "Song of the Free Will" reviewed by Dave Wayne

Though Ra Kalam Bob Moses is known primarily for his uncanny and profound drumming skills, few realize that he has forged a unique and highly personal piano style in parallel with his efforts as a percussionist, composer and bandleader. Few remember his wonderful band Compost with that other ineffable drummer / pianist, Jack DeJohnette. Compost recorded two funky and fresh albums--Take Off Your Body (CBS Records, 1972) and Life Is Round (CBS Records, 1973)--with Ra Kalam and DeJohnette switching off ...

Read more articles


New Release: In The Moment - Ra-kalam Bob Moses, Mike Armando, Andy Golba

New Release:  In The Moment - Ra-kalam Bob Moses, Mike Armando, Andy Golba

Source: Mike Armando

New Release: mja Records Label Group: In The Moment Musicians: Mike Armando - guitar, Andy Golba - bass, Ra-Kalam Bob Moses - drums Belly Dancer Gone Funky (selected tune from CD) A music creation that was recorded, In The Moment no charts, just pure creation of music from within bringing it to you. This track from the CD In The Moment is a combination of drum, guitar and bass that takes you on a journey to another land and era. ...


Performance / Tour

Lola Danza Sings with Bob Moses, Matt Langley & Wes Brown on April 17 at Ryles Jazz Club

Lola Danza Sings with Bob Moses, Matt Langley & Wes Brown on April 17 at Ryles Jazz Club

Source: All About Jazz

The enchanting and innovative vocalist, Lola Danza celebrates with an evening of experimental jazz music at Ryles Jazz Club (212 Hampshire St. Cambridge MA) Thursday April 17, 2008 at 8:30pm. Ms. Danza will be joined by special guests: Matt Langley- Saxophone, Bob Moses - Drums, Wes Brown- Bass, Leo Genovese- Piano and Nat Mugavero - Drums. Ms. Danza combines Jazz, Avant-garde, World, Classical, Post Modern Pop and Americana music. Danza's created a new idiom in Jazz. Lola's original compositions evoke ...


Performance / Tour

Vocalist and Composer Lola Danza Performs with Bob Moses and John Lockwood

Vocalist and Composer Lola Danza Performs with Bob Moses and John Lockwood

Source: All About Jazz

The innovative vocalist and composer, Lola Danza celebrates her project Nadu featuring legendary drummer, Bob Moses (drummer of Jaco Pastorius, Pat Metheny, John Scofield, Keith Jarrett, Charles Mingus, Herbie Hancock, Bill Frisell and many others) and bassist, John Lockwood (bassist of Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson, Dizzy Gillespie, the Fringe and many more) with visual artists: painter Jacqueline Chachitz and installation artist Meaghan Bates perform Saturday, July 14, 2007 at 8pm at the Water Street Lounge (66 Water St. 718.625.9352 in ...


Performance / Tour

NEC Jazz Orchestra Showcases Bob Moses, April 20 at NEC's Jordan Hall

NEC Jazz Orchestra Showcases Bob Moses, April 20 at NEC's Jordan Hall

Source: All About Jazz

NEC Jazz Orchestra Plays Music of Bob Moses, April 20 in NEC's Jordan Hall The NEC Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of Jazz and Improvisation Chair Ken Schaphorst, will spotlight the music of composer, drummer, and percussionist Bob Moses at its Jordan Hall concert April 20 at 8:00 p.m. Moses has been teaching at NEC since 1983, but this will be the first time that his music has been presented by the Jazz Orchestra. The concert will focus primarily on ...



Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

Sonic Alchemy Suprema

Carimbo Porta-jazz


Dances Of Freedom

Samo Records


Live at the Berlin...

Origin Records



Dream Play Records


Three Moments

Ziggle Zaggle Music


Song of the Free Will

Self Produced


This Is the Thing

From: Live at the Berlin...
By Bob Moses



Get more of a good thing!

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories, our special offers, and upcoming jazz events near you.