JazzReview.com – August 2002
CD Title: Alone Together
Record Label: Root Cellar Record
Style: Free Jazz / Avante Garde
Review By: Wendy E. Ross
Review: Joseph Patrick Moore’s third solo CD, Alone Together, is an intriguing mixture of Jazz, Funk, Classical and Soul. It draws you in slowly, enchanting you with varieties of mood and space. Moore creates and populates whole landscapes with impressionistic sound. He is probably best known for his stints as a member of BlueGround UnderGrass and Col. Bruce Hampton & The Fiji Mariners.
The title cut convincingly holds it’s anchor spot, despite being the next to the last cut on the CD. Alone Together is vibratingly slow and beautiful. It’s as if Moore were blindly brailling, his bass. Moore claims this cut as his interpretation of the Dietz/Schwartz jazz standard. The thought of being ‘alone together’ with his instrument served as the inspiration for this title and for the whole album. The cut begins with western flavor, the music heavy with foreboding. It’s like the main street of a deserted gold rush town, after the mine has shutdown. In the distance storm clouds gather and the few residents left, hide indoors as if expecting the storm to blow in an outlaw along with the rain. The notes fall like leftover raindrops down a windowpane or like a single tear, sliding down a hot dusty cheek.
Cuts one and four, Waterfall and Fall, balance each other in equal and opposing measure. Waterfall has a classical, almost baroque sound, ponderous, but at the same time soaring with lighter pizzicato notes. Moore’s liner quotes speak of a waterfall being forceful yet mysterious, and that if you look closely, you can see a rainbow through the mist. Fall according to Moore, is about his favorite season of morphing color, rededication, and renewal. The bass holds full- throated, falling notes, evoking the warm, rich colors with a lush, multi-layered sound. He draws the notes out as if wanting to linger over them and not let them go.
On the cuts, Landscape, Prayer of Solitude, Masoko Tanga the bass has an Asian sound; one can almost hear a Koto and sometimes even a gong. The beginning of Landscape is other- worldly, bringing to mind a lunar terrain. Moore’s inspiration for the song was a desolate swamp, but in the distance he could see the most glorious sunset.
Cut five and six, Sooner Or Later and Bobby McFerrin‘s Drive are fun and funky. There’s a heavy beat, but also a whimsical humor. It’s a journey with various adventures along the way passing pastures with cows, one minute and ending up in a biker pub the next.
Qui-Es Tu Marie-Jeanne is a gorgeous sonorous tune, with classical leanings. The pensive searching chorus evokes the impression of nymphet in chiffon floral dress running barefoot through the winter bare gardens of a historic mansion searching for what was once there, but is now gone.
Significant musicians and events inspired several cuts on the CD. Bebop Charlie, a bold rooster strut of a tune is dedicated to Charlie ‘Yardbird’ Parker, and reminiscent of his style, Pause # 4, dedicated to Ron Carter, Dave Holland, Victor Wooten, and Bill Frisell gallops, with enough ‘airs above the ground’ to make a Lippizaner Stallion look like Pegasus. The track Numb, was a reaction to September 11th. The opening crashes in like the dissonant buzz of a TV channel with bad reception. White noise? It certainly is numbing.
The final cut Offering, speaks of the unique gift each person has to give the world. New age dissonant, with whispered ghost like poet-speak vocals, it’s hauntingly repetitive and querulous.
I’d definitely recommend Moore’s latest CD. This is not background music but an adventure that leads one on a journey of introspection. It’s disturbing, in that instead of sending you to sleep, it would be more likely to stir your creative juices. Take a listen and see if you have the courage to be ‘Alone Together’.