Interview: Joe Moore

Words by Kiera Magnetti.

Sitting down to speak with Joe Moore after his set on Wednesday proved challenging to do without interruption. Moore seemed to know everybody; twice we had to pause our conversation for him to accept congratulations from people who had caught his set. “I played their wedding some time ago,” he told me the first time, and “that’s my doctor and his family,” the second.  Joe Moore is an established member of the local community and music scene, a man of humility, soul and talent.

Moore played the very first Discover Jazz Festival in 1983, and didn’t grace its stages again until 2013. This year he has been scheduled to play seven different sets throughout the ten day festival. He performs with a quartet and a trio, and is backed by different band members depending on the style of music he is playing. For his show on Wednesday at the Top Block Stage, Moore played alongside Bill Darrow on guitar, Nick Warner on bass and Nick Aloi on drums.

When Moore left his home state of Florida with his saxophone, he played all around in places like California, Texas and New York City. But he has called Vermont home since 1975. “My band, the Untouchables in Rhode Island broke up,” says Moore, so he headed to Montreal, Canada to connect with the band Mahogany Rush and hit the recording studio. “When I got there, there was nobody there. They were on tour, and the studio was shut down.” So for his next stop, Moore says, he decided “I’ll try Vermont.” Although he was told at the time that there was no industry for saxophone players in Vermont, Moore remained here and eventually was able to connect and share the stage with other musicians who shared his style. Now he can be seen playing live nearly every week, either with his own band or filling in with other local acts. When he’s not performing, Joe Moore also spends his time as a teacher at CP Smith Elementary School in Burlington.

Look out for the Joe Moore Band at the Jig in the Valley Festival in East Fairfield this July.