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Stanton Moore

UPC: 888072318908

Release Date:  April 13, 2010


Press Release


Groove Alchemy due at retail on April 13, 2010

Telarc CD is culmination of multimedia project

In medieval times, alchemy was a mystical pursuit based on a belief that gold could be created from common raw materials. It’s an ancient practice, an idea that has long since been debunked by centuries of scientific evidence to the contrary.

Or has it? Attempts to derive precious substances from lead or tin may have been dismissed by modern-day science as a fool’s errand, but the belief that something of great value can come from something common persists. For drummer Stanton Moore, it’s just a matter of finding the right groove.

Moore proves his theory many times over with the April 13, 2010, release of Groove Alchemy on Telarc International, a division of Concord Music Group. The 12-track set is the culmination of Moore’s multimedia project that also includes an instructional book and DVD of the same name. All three facets of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Zigaboo Modeliste – each of whom made their mark at different times throughout the 1960s as the engines driving James Brown’s and the Meters’ legendary rhythm sections – and in turn tracing their influences back to the rhythms coming out of New Orleans in the earlier part of the 20th century.

“I’m showing how to not only understand the roots of funk and the history of funk,” says Moore, “but also how to understand the creative processes behind it, and then how to learn from those creative processes so you can begin to make new grooves with the drums out of what was done in the past. With this project, I’ve kind of lifted the lid off the process that I go through and what’s involved whenever I put together a record.”

But Groove Alchemy is anything but a strictly academic exercise. “If you’re just a listener and a music fan, you can pick up the record and totally dig it for the music itself,” says Moore. “There’s nothing about that experience that has to be instructional. But if you’re a drummer, and you want to understand how I came up with these beats and understand the history of the music as I know it, in the hopes that you might deepen your knowledge and come up with new grooves as a result, then you can check out the book and the DVD.”

Moore’s trio on the new recording includes Robert Walter and guitarist Will Bernard – both of whom appeared on the drummer’s two previous Telarc recordings, III (2006) and Emphasis! On Parentheses (2008). Both musicians contribute heavily to the songwriting on Groove Alchemy, but Moore is clearly at the helm on this outing as he takes his trio and anyone within the sound of their collective voice on a journey that twists and turns through and around the funk tradition and digs into the heart of the New Orleans sound that contributed so significantly to its genesis.

The straightforward opening groove of “Squash Blossom” sets the stage for the numerous high points that follow, including “Pot Licker,” a piece by Walter that mixes elements of Stubblefield and Starks into a gumbo that’s further enriched by Moore’s own sensibilities, and the churning “Root Cellar,” a composition by Bernard wherein Moore borrows from the style of Tower of Power drummer David Garibaldi. “Instead of playing it with a really high-pitched snare, I play it with a more slushy snare drum,” Moore explains. “I’m adding elements of New Orleans – and elements of myself – to what was essentially coming from Garibaldi. It’s a groove that sounds kind of like a second line, but it’s coming from Tower of Power at the same time.”

Hammering and persistent, “Neeps and Tatties” draws attention to the direct line connecting the work of Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste (The Meters) and John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). “I switch snare drums, so that tonally, it sounds more like one drummer at certain times in the song and the other drummer at other times,” says Moore. “I’m just showing how the two drummers’ ideas are so similar that you can include them in the same tune and it works.”

“Shiftless” derives its exotic groove from the music of the Mardi Gras Indians, a secret society of Mardi Gras and New Orleans Jazz Fest revelers dating back to the mid-1800s and representing an amalgam of African American, Native American and Haitian cultures. “The second-line New Orleans style and the Mardi Gras Indian music are two very rhythmic schools that are emerging down here,” says Moore. “They have infiltrated a lot of what’s going on musically in this region.”

The eerie sounds of “Cleanse This House” were inspired by a series of rituals performed in Moore’s house in New Orleans to drive out a few restless spirits. “My wife especially could feel it, and when people brought their pets to our house, the animals would pick up on it,” says Moore. “We had a voodoo specialist come to the house and perform a lot of rituals. In the end, it wasn’t anything too elaborate, but it worked.”

“Aletta” is a melodic and mysterious ballad written for and about Moore’s wife by her biological father, Erkan Gursal, a retired Turkish naval officer whom the couple only recently met in the past year. Gursal, an accomplished pianist, wrote the tune during a visit with Moore and Aletta in 2009. “He’s been living in Istanbul all these years, but he came to New Orleans and spent Mardi Gras with us,” says Moore. “There’s just something funny – almost absurd – that my father-in-law is a Turkish naval officer and a piano player.”

The set closes with a melancholy rendition of “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” a song made popular in the early ‘80s by country artist George Jones, a favorite of Moore’s grandparents when he was growing up. The tune has a rough-edged, down-and-out feeling that reeks of missed opportunities and broken dreams.

Groove Alchemy runs the gamut of emotions – from the upbeat and festive to the broken-hearted and even spooky. It’s a cache of precious material that results from the mating of traditional and timeless elements with new and fresh musical ideas. “This is the process I go through with any record I make, although the process has been more in-depth this time,” says Moore. “I’ve explained it in detail so that people can hopefully learn something from witnessing the steps that I go through. I guess what I’ve tried to do is pull back the curtain a little bit and show what’s going on in my mind as I make a record.”



Stanton Moore - Profile

Born and raised in New Orleans, Stanton Moore is a dedicated drummer and performer especially connected to the city, its culture and collaborative spirit. Driven and inspired by the thriving music scene of his hometown which includes such greats as Professor Longhair, Doctor John and The Meters, Moore’s name is now mentioned amongst these Big Easy mainstays.

In the early ‘90s, Moore helped found the New Orleans-based essential funk band Galactic. Their first album, 1996’s widely acclaimed Coolin’ Off, led to an intense tour schedule of nearly 200 gigs a year for the next ten years. Building on their fan base by adding an esteemed list of all-star collaborations to the six albums that followed, Galactic continues to amass a worldwide audience via recording and touring globally.

Moore launched his solo career in 1998 aided by eight-string guitar virtuoso Charlie Hunter and saxophonist Skerik (Les Claypool, John Scofield, Roger Waters). The group recorded All Kooked Out! featuring a handful of local New Orleans musicians as well.

In the midst of these recording sessions yet another concept was taking shape. Outtakes turned into the first Garage a Trois release, Mysteryfunk (1999). In 2000 the trio, led by Moore behind the drum kit, was joined by percussionist Mike Dillon (Les Claypool, Ani DiFranco) and has since released three more albums – Emphasizer in 2003, Outre Mer in 2005 and Power Patriot in 2009.

Moore extended his solo discography with the release of Flyin’ the Koop (Verve/Blue Thumb) in 2001, and III (Telarc) in 2006. Following the latter Modern Drummer called Moore’s trademark sound “infectious, jazz-meets-Bonham, nouveau second-line.” Recorded at the legendary Preservation Hall in New Orleans, III featured organist Robert Walter (Greyboy Allstars, The Head Hunters) and guitarist Will Bernard (T.J. Kirk, Doctor Lonnie Smith) as the Stanton Moore Trio, with special guests Skerik and trombonist Mark Mullins (Galactic, Bonerama, Harry Connick, Jr., Better Than Ezra).

In 2008, Moore looked to continue his scaled back session crew with Walter and Bernard to record Emphasis! (on parenthis). Says Moore, “When it came time to do another record, I had already known for a while that I wanted to build on the momentum of this band – three musicians who were becoming a unit unto themselves – and I wanted to get a little more adventurous with the music itself.”

In April 2010, Moore releases Groove Alchemy. The 12-track set is the culmination of Moore’s multimedia project that also includes an instructional book and DVD of the same name. All three facets of the project are designed to explore the roots of funk drumming by examining the work of pioneers like Jabo Starks, Clyde Stubblefield, and Zigaboo Modeliste – each of whom made their mark at different times throughout the 1960s as the engines driving James Brown’s and the Meters’ legendary rhythm sections – and in turn tracing their influences back to the rhythms coming out of New Orleans in the earlier part of the 20th century. Recorded at Levon Helm’s studio in Woodstock, NY, this project is the follow up to the widely acclaimed Take it to the Street DVD and book that focused specifically on New Orleans drumming styles.

Showing his outstanding versatility, Moore has appeared on Heavy Metal Grammy nominees Corrosion of Conformity’s In the Arms of God, Irma Thomas’ After the Rain (winning a grammy in the process), Robert Walter’s Super Heavy Organ, Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and Boots Riley’s (the Coup) Street Sweeper Social Club, Will BernarDiane Birch’s Bible Belt, Alec Ounsworth’s (Clap Your Hands Say Yeah) Mo Beauty. He continues to play dates globally with an ever-evolving cast of musicians including John Scofield; Karl Denson; George Porter, Jr., and Leo Nocentelli (of the Meters); Charlie Hunter; Warren Haynes; John Medeski and Chris Wood (of Medeski, Martin and Wood); Donald Harrison Jr.; Dr. Lonnie Smith, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Robert Walter; the New Orleans Klezmer All-Stars and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to name a few.

With a bachelor’s degree in music and business from Loyola University, Moore stays involved in education by constantly giving clinics and teaching master classes and private lessons all over the world. He has been a contributing writer for Drum!, Modern Drummer, and DownBeat magazines here he was featured on the covers of more than six drum publications. In 2005, he launched a signature line of cymbals with Bosphorus Cymbals and a signature drumstick with the Vic Firth stick company. In 2009, Moore developed his own drum company to introduce his signature titanium snare drum that he designed in conjunction with Ronn Dunnett.

Deeply affected by Katrina and its aftermath, New Orleans’ native son was quick to lend a hand by spearheaded the Tipitina’s Music Workshop, free Sunday seminars that cater to children and a rotating cast of well-known professionals to promote the preservation of New Orleans music. He also set up the Staletta Fund, a scholarship started by he and his wife Aletta to help cover costs for aspiring students to attend jazz camps, auditions and further their education.

Moore stays active as a spokesperson for the Gulf Restoration Network and is a regular proponent of and player with the Voice of the Wetlands All-Stars. Additionally he serves on the board of directors for the Roots of Music, a free music education and academic mentoring program founded by Derrick Tabb, drummer for Rebirth Brass Band and recent nominee for CNN’s Heroes awards.

Galactic’s next record Ya-ka-may will be released February, 2010, and Moore steps into the role of producer on Anders Osborne’s next record due out next Spring.

Click on album thumbnails below for audio previews & more info

Emphasis (On Parenthesis)
CD 83681



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