Vol. 5 No.3, Summer 2004
Review by Fred Adams
Joseph Patrick Moore’s Drum & Bass Society, Volume 1 has got to be one of the most intriguing new releases of the year. From the moment the disc begins, with a new spin on Men at Work‘s ‘Down Under,’ it is rapidly apparent that this Tennessee native’s musical odyssey is unlike anything else coming from the South, or anywhere else for that matter.
As much a composer as a bassist, the majority of the songs on this, Moore’s fourth solo release, are (very) original. From beginning to end, the songs are all well written, uniquely arranged, and performed with a confidence and purity of a performer doing something he obviously loves. While all of the material is strong, songs such as ‘Creatures of Conscience’ (featuring guest appearances by ARU alumni Count M’ Butu and Jeff Sipe), ‘Datz It’ (featuring Moore’s former Fiji Mariner band mate Dr. Dan Matrazzo on keyboards, along with Johnny Mosier on guitar), and the ‘Cheese Frog Funk‘ trilogy leave little doubt that this is an artist whose vast talents span many musical genres, from new age to jazz to reggae.
‘Jamband Express,’ also featuring Jeff Sipe on drums, is another masterfully played, and deceptively titled, track. While the songs name may lead one to expect sounds similar to the bass Moore became known for as he joined Col. Bruce Hampton‘s Fiji Mariners, not even a trace of his jam scene influences can be heard here. The track actually sounds more suited to be heard as the theme of a TV show, or movie soundtrack, than something one would hear on today’s jam scene.
While his own compositions are strong, Moore also seems to take great joy, and possess tremendous talents, in rearranging the material of others. Besides the aforementioned ‘Down Under,’ Moore also gives new life to another 80s pop hit, The Fixx’s ‘One Thing Leads to Another‘ (sung by George and Caroline Pond of Snake Oil Medicine Show), as well as Phish’s ‘Heavy Things‘.
Regardless of the genre he pursues, Moore plays with the class, style and skills of a man whose life is devoted to his craft. While his compositions may never lend themselves to mass commercial appeal or radio play, Drum & Bass Society proves Moore belongs in the elite echelon of today’s newest, and brightest, stars of the new age jazz world.