Pianist Eddie Moore pursues a pure vision

LAWRENCE — Eddie Moore’s new album, “Aperture,” comprises just six songs and 16 minutes of solo piano. But it's based on a lifetime of listening to and performing in all genres of music — not just the “jazz” that follows his title as a lecturer in the University of Kansas School of Music and for which he has become well known in the Kansas City area.

“I play everything,” Moore said. “To me, jazz isn't one style. It's not actually a style at all. So I play everything — traditional, all of it.”

Moore grew up in Houston with parents who sang rhythm and blues and gospel music. He moved to this area a decade ago to earn a master’s degree in the jazz program at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory of Music, then run by saxophone great Bobby Watson.

“I knew I was missing some things,” Moore said. “I came here to get the full scope. So while I'm super modern, you can relate to the music because you hear elements of the older jazz that you like, because I'm a student of that. And that gets back to why I practice every day. I listen to older music and transcribe it so I can bring that classic language to my modern world; so it's grounded.”

Moore has made six albums and several singles of forward-thinking jazz with his own group, the Outer Circle. His previous solo record, “Intuition” (2022), features Moore mainly playing electric keyboard in funky collaborations with rappers Kemet Coleman and Dom Chronicles, among others. He has played with the Marcus Lewis Big Band and several other ensembles.

“There are so many aspects to music, and I sit in many different real estates,” Moore said.

Being ready to jump in any direction is one of the reasons Moore dedicates himself to the craft of music.

“If you want to be a good writer or a good conversationalist, you read and write all the time, so you're always growing your vocabulary. For me, it's very similar,” Moore said. “If jazz improvisation is actually a language, then I'm always trying to learn new vocabulary words to be able to tell a deeper, better story, especially over different styles of music.”

The goal is to make it look easy, Moore said.

The new solo recording is a whole different vibe stemming from – and recorded at – Moore’s steady biweekly gig at the high-style Corvino Supper Club in Kansas City, Missouri. Moore said he likes to stretch out there, not breaking between songs but rather setting a mood.

“When I sit down to record this record, I was thinking about my stories, and how I wanted it to sonically sound – the overall experience of the piano,” Moore said. “I wanted the listener to be sitting where I'm sitting, which is why you hear the environment. It's clearly not a studio record. So you hear me moving on the seat. ... I'm a human being in a live environment, sitting on things that make noises. We're so used to hearing these perfect, sterile records. That's why I chose to do it live.”

Moore said he modified the baby grand at Corvino to “sound darker,” a la German composer-pianist Nils Frahm.

“I think this record is unique because  it's my full vision,” Moore said. “I recorded it and engineered it with my friend Jaylen Ward. We experimented with different mic techniques. And then I'm the one who mixed it. So these are the ideas I wanted to capture on solo piano, and how I wanted to have it sound.”

Thu, 03/28/2024


Rick Hellman

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Rick Hellman

KU News Service