University of Idaho, May 2004
By Jon Hammond
Bassist Joseph Patrick Moore’s latest release, “Drum & Bass Society-Vol. 1,” experiments with many styles and instrumental groupings in a way that can only be described as eclectic. Each song displays a different mix of sounds and personnel, ranging from the violin, mandolin and flute to heavily sampled drum machine tracks and echoey voices.
The album’s jazz influence is easy to hear on tracks like “Groove Messenger (The Story of Jazztronica),” where Vance Thompson’s trumpet improvisations and Frank Amato’s work on the Fender Rhodes keyboard recall Miles Davis’ recordings of the late ’60s and early ’70s. But when Moore does jazz it is wholly original, preferring a sampled trip-hop beat to the traditional drum kit sound
Just as easily as the electric jazz element is established, other tracks stick to a more pop sound. While Moore’s arrangements of Men at Work’s “Down Under” or The Fixx’s “One Thing Leads to Another” aren’t the highlights of this CD, they do provide an interesting contrast to the album’s more ethereal wanderings.
Other songs covered by Moore and his band stay closer to the group’s “jam band” sound. Jazz drummer Tony Williams’ “Creatures of Conscience” allows drummer Jeff Sipe to stretch out and show his chops, while “Heavy Things,” written by the band Phish, mixes jazzlike improvisation with programmed, Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-esque vocals.
Moore’s technical ability on his instrument is solid, but he isn’t overly showy. In fact, on several tracks, including the album’s opener “Down Under,” he stays out of the way and lets the other instruments shine.
“Drum & Bass Society-Vol. 1” is quality recording with something a little different on each of its 15 tracks.