James Moore Jazzes Up the Joint With New EP
Although James Moore describes himself as a singer-songwriter in his music style, his EP feel. starts off pretty jazzy!
It all starts with the song “She Don’t Bark,” which sort of reminds you of Harry Connick Jr. in the 90s. Moore’s voice has that same quality in his timbre. Not as much a crooner as Connick, but a similar nasal tone. That being said, the song is simple with elegant horns in the back and minimal guitar riffs. Actually, the horns are probably my favorite part in this song. Their parts in the arrangements are well dosed, and they sustain the song while the melody is left its rightful place.
The second track features Dan Pearson, who seems to be playing with Moore a lot these days. “Esmeralda” brings an interesting brazilian/jazz/bluegrass feel to the whole vibe. Starting right away imposing the theme is a simple bass riff that repeats endlessly. A violin comes in and out to support the theme with parts that make you think you’re next to a fire surrounded by cowboys. The more I listen to it, the more I like it. The arrangements are quite complex without seeming like it. Isn’t that the best when it seems easy!? This song also confirms James Moore’s vocal chops, which are extensive.
Continuing the listening session on this album, “I Want You” stands out as the more “singer-songwriter” song, though it’s still quite jazzy. This song leads with vocals and guitar, until the bass comes in with a nice round sound and a simple line.
“I Love You So” is the love ballad that every musician has in their repertoire. This track is not my favorite, being distracted by the lyrics, which I’m a little sick of hearing. Sounds harsh, but being a music journalist, you listen to a lot of music every day, and about 70% is love lost ballads, with the same lyrics in different variations. Now, this particular song is still high quality in its musicianship and in the arrangements. The round and highly reverbed pad that comes in and out throughout the song is what, I think, saves the tune, reminiscent of some Patrick Watson works. The drums are subtle and deep, which is fitting. Harmonies come in to double the main vocals at the end and to finish things off on a beautiful note, and a “I love you…”
It’s clear Moore has a heavy background in music, and applies his jazz experience to the more pop-ish sound. His skills are to be watched, the potential in this musician is great, and I hope his Midwest following will spread throughout the country! You can find him playing various venues around Chicago alongside his pal Dan Pearson.