Jazz interview with jazz bassist, composer, arranger, producer, author, educator Joseph Patrick Moore. An interview by email in writing.
JazzBluesNews.com: – First let’s start with where you grew up, and what got you interested music?
Joseph Patrick Moore: – I grew up in Knoxville, TN USA. I knew I wanted to be a musician when I first heard my sister Dr. Julianna Moore playing/practicing the flute when I was a very young child. My mother would also play the piano and organ in our house. While it wasn’t an overtly musical house, there was enough going on around me to pull me in.
JBN: – How did your sound evolve over time? What did you do to find and develop your sound?
JPM: – Developing your “sound” involves a daily commitment to practicing, listening to music, recording and observing. My sound is constantly evolving. It also depends on the specific bass that I am playing (double, fretless, electric) as well as the style and ideas that I’m trying to get across. That said, my approach to music is the same regardless of the instrument. My bottom line goal is I’m always trying to “serve then music”. Remove the ego and listen deeply to the song and find your supporting role within that.
JBN: – What practice routine or exercise have you developed to maintain and improve your current musical ability especially pertaining to rhythm?
JPM: – As to rhythm, I’ve been working out of two drum books. 1) Progressive Steps To Syncopation For The Modern Drummer by Ted Reed. 2) The New Breed by Gary Chester.
JBN: – Which harmonies and harmonic patterns do you prefer now? You’re playing is very sensitive, deft, it’s smooth, and I’d say you drift more toward harmony than dissonance. There is some dissonance there, but you use it judiciously. Is that a conscious decision or again, is it just an output of what goes in?
JPM: – Thank you for that observation. I would say it is an output of what goes in. I love trying to find and create new melodies and if that involves dissonance harmony I will utilize that. There really are no “wrong” notes, it’s just how you resolve the half-step to whole-step resolution. My favorite scale is the chromatic scale.
JBN: – How to prevent disparate influences from coloring what you’re doing?
JPM: – You have to stay focused, motivated, and have passion. We all are influenced by everything and everyone around us and in some way it will color your music and life. You just have to be strong enough not to let bad vibes and negative people throw you of the rails.
JBN: – What’s the balance in music between intellect and soul?
JPM: – Music has to come deep from within your soul. It is the DNA and the nucleus that makes it exist and move people. That said, you can’t blindly throw darts. You need to have basic understanding of theory and harmony in the creating process but not let it overtake the feel of the music. In other words, It’s ok to play a wrong note or make a mistake as long as it feels good. At least, this is how I feel about it anyway. Don’t let your head get ahead of your heart.
JBN: – There’s a two-way relationship between audience and artist; you’re okay with giving the people what they want?
JPM: – Yes. However, you have to stay true to yourself and your music. Hopefully an audience will find you and respect/appreciate what you are doing. You can’t create art by worrying what other people are going to think about it – you will kill the process before it even begins. I’ve personally seen this many times from fellow musicians, especially in the studio. You are correct it is a two-way relationship and each must respect the other.
JBN: – Please any memories from gigs, jams, open acts and studio sessions which you’d like to share with us?
JPM: – There are many experiences to share, but I’ll share two memorable live performances: 1) Playing with Earl Klugh at the 2010 Eric Clapton’s Crossroads festival. The performance was captured on DVD and it is available. 2) Working with Stewart Copeland (The Police) and playing his music with him and the Lincoln Center Jazz Band in 2008 at the Savannah Jazz Festival.
JBN: – How can we get young people interested in jazz when most of the standard tunes are half a century old?
JPM: – Fabulous question. First songs are called “standards” because they’ve proven the test of time. They are memorable, relevant, important and need to continue just as much as Bach needs to continue. Everything is an evolution really. That said, I dig what you are saying and I believe with the advent of technology there are ways to make jazz more exciting for new fans. I dig the respect for the music and the attitude, but why not make a jazz concert like a rock concert in terms of lighting, volume, sound, incorporating video projection screens, ableton possibilites? This doesn’t mean you have to alter your approach or style, but try to find ways to make it visually and aurally more appealing for the masses, especially the young people. Jazz is exciting enough with all that anyway, I do understand this … But there is a way to add elements to a live presentation to help grow the genre.
JBN: – John Coltrane said that music was his spirit. How do you understand the spirit and the meaning of life?
JPM: – When you first come out of your mother’s womb as an infant you are crying. You are making music with your voice … It is a deep and spiritual awakening when you examine this. I can answer your question by saying we are all born with it, however to be an artist you have to live it, breath it, walk it, talk it and never get led astray or get told you can’t color outside the lines.
Recently this year, I lost my dear friend Yonrico Scott (drums Derek Trucks/Earl Klugh+). I co-produced and played on his last album titled, “Life Of A Dreamer”. The whole concept of that album can be summed up with your question. It was about Spirit, Universal truths, Vibes and the meaning of life.
JBN: – If you could change one thing in the musical world and it would become a reality, what would that be?
JPM: – No more lip syncing, fakery or gimics. Let the music speak for itself!
JBN: – Who do you find yourself listening to these days?
JPM: – Thankfully with the advent of technology, playlists and the like – I’m always being exposed to the classics as well as new and fresh music. It is always evolving and I have several playlists on my website of what I’m currently listening to … Recently I got turned onto Karim Ziad & Hamid El Kasri … I can’t stop listening to the album “Yobadi”. This is a super bad ass album!
JBN: – What is the message you choose to bring through your music?
JPM: – Passion and Truth. My personal recording studio name is “Abstract Truth Recording Studios”. I guess to answer your question, “Abstract Truth”. I don’t want to be held back by labels or stigmas and I want the music to be the truth.
JBN: – Let’s take a trip with a time machine, so where and why would you really wanna go?
JPM: – I would love to have been a fly on the wall in the studio during the making of Miles Davis Bitches Brew sessions. That album had an enormous impact on me (and still does). I actually had an opportunity to talk with the great guitarist John McLaughlin about that and he shared some amazing stories. John was my time machine – lol.
JBN: – I have been asking you so far, now may I have a question from yourself…
JPM: – What does the future hold for you Simon and your company and what are your goals?
JBN: – Our goal: to develop jazz and blues music that we succeed, more than 64,000 jazz and blues musicians and lovers of these music read us every day!!!
JBN: – So putting that all together, how are you able to harness that now?
JPM: – Not sure I understand this one, lol. With that said, you provide such a great resource to both the musician and fan alike and I appreciate this interview Simon.
Interview by Simon Sargsyan