William Ellis - drums
Joseph Patrick Moore - bass
Shawn Perkinson - guitar
EMP Project releases sophomore CD dubbed, "Wherever We Go".
Review by: Mark Sabbatini
When an album opens with a quirky reinterpretation of the 1980s hit “Down Under” it’s safe to assume the artist is looking to have a good time. Joseph Patrick Moore succeeds to a degree in bringing listeners along on Drum And Bass Society, Vol. 1, even if the cast of players doesn’t quite let its collective hair down enough to make this a consistent fun fest throughout. It’s an all-over-the-map jam band romp where nobody’s the life of the party, but almost everyone has something interesting to say if you focus on them amidst the din.
The fifteen tracks include seven originals by the bass player, plus reinterpretations of hits by groups such as Phish, The Specials, and The Fixx. It’s a radical departure from Moore’s 2002 multi-tracked solo album Alone Together, with the new release featuring more than twenty musicians and only a couple of songs where Moore solos—his arranging of this huge cast is the main contribution.
The most unfortunate moment is Moore’s slow reggae treatment of “Down Under,” which might have been a readily identifiable crowd-pleaser, but instead comes across as unimaginative and badly at odds with the album’s overall beat. The vocals are played straight and the instrumentalists avoid anything notable for a radio-safe four minutes. The concept works much better on “One Thing Leads To Another” as one of the wind players takes over immediately on flute and doesn’t let go throughout a peppery string of phrases. It’s hardly the inspired madness of the Bad Plus, but is a plus rather than a minus to the album.
Speaking of inspired madness, some of the better moments of it occur on the hybrid world/funk/whatever collage of “Cheesefrog Funk.” “Groove Messenger” delivers a decent bit of fusion in the style of Miles Davis, who Moore cites as one of his big influences. And the scope of variety can be seen on the rather flute-heavy New Agey “Rain Dance” and the almost mainstream jazz of “Herbie,” a tribute to pianist Herbie Hancock.
The CD, released on Moore’s Blue Canoe Records, has a $9 list price, and two songs, “Jamband Express” and “Groove Messenger (The Story of Jazztronica),” are available as free MP3 downloads from Moore’s web site and online vendors such as Amazon.com .
Moore has proven a solid player in a variety of settings since appearing on the recording scene in the mid 1990s, and this album ranks well among his releases. Fans wanting to hear him in this setting will likely be satisfied and new listeners of such music will find it worthwhile to at least investigate the free previews. Those wanting to hear his playing will find Alone Together a better and also intriguing bet, since the overdubbing includes unexpected sounds such as percussion generated by tapping on his bass.
E.M.P. Project’s debut and inspiring jazz trio recording, captures the magic, spirit and spontaneity of these gifted young artists. While ensconced in the jazz tradition, they borrow from other contemporary elements and styles to create a musical landscape and wonderland of sounds. Ellis, Moore and Perkinson will have you humming their melodies, dancing to their rhythms, and they’ll dazzle you with their amazing technical abilities. This debut effort from E.M.P. Project will demonstrate why Ellis, Moore and Perkinson are three of the youngest and brightest up and coming names on the jazz scene today.
Review by Todd S. Jenkins
Style: Fusion/Progressive Rock
Versatile Atlanta-based bassist Moore’s new album is packed with fun grooves from the word go. His technique and ideas are steeped in the electric bass developments of the past thirty years, but with a fresh contemporary edge.
The band fries up a hot passel of funk on track #1. The horns are hot and deep into the boogie, Moore’s envelope-filtered bass adds a Bootsy Collins vibe, and Aquarium Rescue Unit guitarist Jimmy Herring tempers the sauce with a cupful of hot bluesiness. Tracks #2 and #5 give the expected nod to Jaco; track #3 begins with thumping worthy of Marcus Miller and evolves into pretty double-stops. These tracks especially flaunt Moore’s studio-quality chops.
Though most of their names are unfamiliar, Moore’s sidemen are complementary, empathetic and well chosen. Pianist Bill Anschell lays down a Ramsey Lewis-style groove on #7 and Buzz Amato boots the organ around the floor before trumpeter Vance Thompson enters with soulful lyricism. Moore closes the disc with covers of classic songs by Led Zeppelin and Kansas. The former is driven smoothly along by Moore’s taut harmonics and fingerstyle melodicism, while the latter floats on an unexpectedly successful Latin jazz beat. Palmer Williams‘ vocals on the last tune are notably fluid and enjoyable. Joseph Patrick Moore is definitely a talent worth hearing, and this well-made disc will be of particular interest to electric bass aficionados.
Track listing: Datz It; Ashes To Ashes; Big Butt Bass; Soulcloud; Pause #3; Mumphis Cosanostra; Cosmic Dance; Going To California; Dust In The Wind.
Personnel: Moore, acoustic and electric basses, shaker; Jimmy Herring, guitar; Yonrico Scott, Phillip Smith, drums; Bill Anschell, Bob Marbach, piano; Frank “Buzz” Amato, keyboards; Vance Thompson, trumpet and flugelhorn; Stan Cherednik, alto and soprano saxes; Bryan Lopes, tenor sax; Palmer Williams Jr., vocals.
The Commercial Appeal, September 28th, 1996
Review by Bill Ellis
The Commercial Appeal
If ever a case could be made for an ongoing jazz scene in Memphis, Moore's disc is it. The bass player's hand-picked ensemble is a roll call of the best of the best, including Jim Spake, Carl Wolfe, trumpeters Scott Thompson and Bill Mobley and clarinetist Lannie McMillian. Heard as well is Hammond B-3 organ phenom Charlie Wood and DDT Big Band singer Kelly Hurt, who adds a silky scat to one tune.
That Moore could gather such esteemed talent for his self-produced disc speaks volumes of the jazz bassman's talents. Moore, who has been featured in notable guitar magazines, plays around town these days with the Memphis Groovetet. His funky bass lines will bring to mind Stanley Clarke and Jaco Pastorius, which is not bad company. He even does an all-bass arrangement of Coltrane's Giant Steps that makes such recent bass arranged efforts by Rob Wasserman puerile in comparison.
Full of melodic invention and deft charts, Moore's own compositions are much more than excuses to jam (something Pastorius wasn't always sensitive to). Moore's locally made NNL can hold its own with any national contemporary jazz record on the market today and deserves major label distribution.