Facebook R&B crooner Mario has been relatively quiet on the music front for…
- Posted on Apr 1st 2010 5:00PM by Tad Hendrickson
Moore now breaks it down with a multimedia project called 'Groove Alchemy,' which is an album as well as an instructional book and DVD. The drummer gets to the root of the groove concept by looking at the playing of legendary James Brown drummers Jabo Starks and Clyde Stubbelfield, as well as the Meters' Zigaboo Modeliste and others. He does this without covering the songs that made the drummers famous, instead illustrating how the 12 tunes from the album were created using their rhythms and styles as a guide.
"All the instruction leads up to creating different kinds of grooves," Moore explains. "After understanding the history, we illustrate how we can create new things. Then it's all set to tunes for the DVD, book and record, which is the culmination of the process."
According to Moore, the DVD and book will work for drummers at all levels of proficiency. It doesn't focus so much on the technical stuff of how to play, instead informing the students about where Starks and Stubblefield got their style and how it fueled the Godfather of Soul's sound. The same goes with Modeliste and how he tied funk to the New Orleans tradition for the Meters.
While he's extremely busy with his band Galactic and as a hired studio hand, Moore's involvement with education has evolved over time. He's gotten requests to do drum clinics because of his talent for explaining stuff in a way that is clear. When he is in town he also works with the Tipitina Foundation, which uses different New Orleans musicians to teach children. He also has another DVD and book that focuses more on the New Orleans tradition, as well.
Moore's own interests in music have changed over time. Soon after getting his first set of drums at age 11, he started playing along to Led Zeppelin (John Bonham is still a major influence), Black Sabbath and other rock bands. Then he dove into jazz to improve his playing. By his mid-teens, he had zeroed in on James Brown to learn about funk, which led to the Meters when he was 17 or 18.
"I was really into the Meters because I was from New Orleans, like them," Moore explains. "Also, with that style of funk, they were improvising. So I was able to play grooves, which I was digging, because I could really hit the drums and improvise."
Moore continues to mix funk and improvisation in his own band, which is the perfect setting for his playing -- guitarist Will Bernard and organist Robert Walter have a strong rhythmic feel to their playing, creating a new-generation sound of Hammond B3 organ/guitar/drums that is driven Moore's dynamic mix of funky syncopated beats and tasteful fills.
According to Moore, "There is something about the bass being covered by the organ player: The organist isn't trying to show everyone what a great bass player he is. So there is a lot of space for the drummer, where he can get more expressive, more interactive, more responsive, more improvisational. It's like driving a small sports car. I love it."
It's this strong group chemistry that ensures that 'Groove Alchemy' never sounds like it is part of an instructional video and book. From the burning opening track, 'Squash Blossom' to the spooky 'Cleanse This House,' 'Groove Alchemy' sounds like Moore and the guys are having a ball doing what they do. The New Orleans sound on tracks like 'Root Cellar' and 'Keep the Gwine' anchors the New Orleans tradition, but Moore even digs into country music with a tip of his sticks to his grandparents on the George Jones hit 'He's Stopped Loving Her Today.' Throughout it all is the monstrous playing of Moore: funky, tasteful and slamming.
"Johnny Vidacovich said to me, 'Always put your thumbprint on it,'" Moore points out, citing the New Orleans jazz drummer as an early mentor. "That was very important when I was younger because it really helped me to develop my own voice, which is, I think, why people are interested in what I'm doing. He also said that if I finished college in New Orleans without going out on the road or moving somewhere else to play, he was going to personally kick my ass [laughs]. So I got out on the road!"
Here's what our friends at All About Jazz have been up to:
'Dark Eyes,' Tomasz Stanko
'Live Extracts,' Eivind Aarset
'With Ron Miles,' 3ology
'Under My Skin,' Mark Lambert
'Unlikely Stories,' Lage Lund
Eivind Aarset: Guitar Anti-Hero
Ben Goldberg: Clarinet Communion
2010 Portland Jazz Festival
Jean-Michel Pilc: A Portrait & True Story