Born into a musical family, Eddie Moore has been playing as long as he can remember. His mother, an accomplished singer, encouraged him to begin classical piano lessons at age 4, while his father was a music enthusiast who first introduced him to the seminal sounds of Miles Davis and John Coltrane. A Houston native, Moore made Kansas City his home while pursuing his Master of Arts in Jazz Studies at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Since then, he’s found a comfortable spot as a go-to player across the city’s spectrum of music.
Though he considers himself a “jazz guy” at heart, Moore lists influences as diverse as Chopin to NOFX to A Tribe Called Quest to The Mars Volta. All of these influences are present in the melodic lines he creates for each group he plays with, which range from jazz collectives (Book of Gaia, The Project H, Stephanie Moore), to reggae bands (77 Jefferson, Zack Mufasa), to hip-hop artists (Kemet Coleman, Godson), and experimental psych rock groups (Various Blonde). “All these genres require different feels and aspects of musical communication,” says Moore. “You gotta know your lane and have fun staying there, to a degree, which makes it fun and interesting.”
By having the advantage of working with musicians in different genres, Moore also has the unique ability to bridge a gap among scenes. He does this with Fresh To Def, a monthly jam series at The Tank Room—an idea he conceived with Kemet Coleman to facilitate community and create an organic outlet for musicians to express themselves. “[We invite] all to come up with no egos, attitudes or preconceived songs, and just create in the rawest form with musicians you might not know and have fun,” he says. “It’s a joy to see people connect by playing music with each other.” Fresh To Def happens on the fourth Friday of each month.
Moore’s principal project is his jazz quartet, Eddie Moore & the Outer Circle, which he started upon graduating from UMKC in 2012. With The Outer Circle, he’s had a chance to take his music abroad and release a number of critically lauded albums, the latest of which was recorded live at Green Lady Lounge. Live in Kansas City was recorded on the final night of the group’s weekly 6-month residency there. “I wanted to capture the work we had been doing in preparation for our studio recording. The album documents new tunes by myself and group members with the crazy journeys we like and tend to go on,” he says. The Outer Circle allows Moore to express himself in mixed meters and classic jazz elements with a vibrant, refined splash of modern color. These lush musical illustrations give us a window into a thoughtful composer.
“I express myself through music by staying true to who I am. Hopefully the end result is to help wash the daily problems of life away for the listener, even if it’s only for an hour or two.”
Michelle Bacon is a musician and writer dedicated to the Kansas City music community. As editor of The Deli Magazine-Kansas City and staff member at Midwest Music Foundation, she advocates for and helps spotlight music in the area. She is also a freelance writer for The Kansas City Star and plays bass with The Philistines and Dolls on Fire, and drums in Chris Meck & the Guilty Birds. Her grandma is 101 years old and by far the coolest person she knows.