New Orleans drummer Stanton Moore’s jazz has more to do with the rowdiness of rock than with free-form intellectual explorations of melody. That’s not to say that Moore is a failed rocker turned jazzman or vice versa. This is an observation of how Moore’s music translates through the filters of his varied side projects.
Moore is at the top of his game at present. His drum work is detailed and funk-meticulous, and he performs and records with several groups. He is that kind of musician who is equally comfortable sitting in with Rage Against the Machine’s Tom Morello as with any Orleans jazz group. What I like best about Moore’s style is the way he chases after the lead with his drum kit rather than bashing out a standard downbeat for all to follow. If I had to give a name to the overall genre of his trio, I’d call it “groove that is grounded in the Hammond B3 organ-combo tradition,” a very stylized, bumpy, old drum-guitar-keyboard sound that saw its best days during the ’70s in clubs on the East Coast.
There’s been some revival of the organ trio in recent years. Of them, I find Moore the most entertaining. Moore has the old Jersey club sound down cold like any good student of the form, but he doesn’t stop there. With influences like Wu Tang, Sabbath, and Led Zeppelin, it’s not hard for his trio to slip in a classic rock or gospel cover now and then, and the thing is, they make it work within the tension-release dynamic of the organ trio. Maybe they didn’t set out to be across-the-board revisionists — there really isn’t much left for modern bands working in today’s super-saturated music climate. When everything’s been done before, the burden placed on the new school is to keep it real. And make it interesting.
STANTON MOORE TRIO, Winston’s, Friday, May 9, 9:30 p.m. 619-222-6822. $15.