Robert Moore and Friends
Bijou Café -- October 28, 2006
Robert Moore - vocals, trumpet & harmonica
Nancy King - vocals
Dan Gaynor - piano
Alan Tarpinian - drums
Bill Athens - bass
David Valdez - baritone saxophone
Terry Soto - electric guitar
On the occasional Friday evening, the charming Bijou Café on the corner of SW Pine and 3rd magically transforms itself from popular breakfast spot to happening jazz venue. When the Bijou features jazz on the evening menu, it serves up the hot sounds of multi-talented trumpeter and vocalist, Robert Moore with an ensemble of exciting musical friends.
This listener knows that Robert never disappoints, and neither does the Bijou kitchen. For only $15.00, the hungry jazz fan enjoys not only Robert's tasty, hand-picked musical treats, but also the Bijou's culinary delights, buffet style. Leave your craving for meat at home; this is strictly a vegetarian spread featuring flavorful salads, a creamy mushroom pasta dish, tender poppyseed cake, and other yummy dishes. Wine and coffee are available.
For this particular evening, Robert has brought in an energetic, youthful rhythm section which eagerly embraces every tune on Robert's varied set list -- Dan Gaynor with his "big ears" on piano; Bill Athens with melodic solos and solid, "on top of the beat" lines on bass, and the ever- enthusiastic Alan Tarpinian at the drumkit, perhaps having more fun than anyone on the bandstand. All three are having a blast. And why not? Not only do they have each other, but Robert has invited scat queen Nancy King to join him for the evening to inspire the musicians and listeners with her effortless vocal improvisations that rival those of any instrumentalist.
Tonight she takes on the role of sideman, providing fills, harmonies and counter lines for Robert's vocals, and taking her turn with the other instrumentalists with her inventive scat solos. Occasionally she is featured on a ballad or bebop number. Half way through the 1st set, baritone saxophonist David Valdez adds his fat sound to the mix, and Terry Soto joins in with some thoughtful, facile soloing on guitar. Oh, and then there is Robert Moore.
Robert Moore, an astonishingly spontaneous creative force, is adept in multiple roles during performance - charming host to the audience, able bandleader, accomplished trumpeter, versatile vocalist who scats freely. Plus he plays a mean blues harmonica, whistles, writes the music and lyrics to both poignant and clever songs, and even sings Autumn Leaves in French. His voice can be both tender and gruff, joyful and pained. He shares his emotions freely with the audience, drawing us into the music to share the humor and fun, or to relive the heartache. His choice of material is refreshing and varied, including originals, bebop classics, jazz vocalese, blues, reworked old pop tunes, and standards, Robert allows the gig to take on a jam session feel, generously giving all of the musicians plenty of opportunities to solo.
The audience loves the variety and is all ears; no yakking at any of the tables, and a few dancers get up to bop to the beat.
Robert opens the first set with his infectious original, Wildcat which would be a hit on the charts in a perfect world. It features a comfortable groove and trumpet riff that you find yourself humming the next morning. Other highlights of the evening include Nancy King's tender interpretation of the Rogers and Hart ballad, It Never Entered My Mind, a funkified version (seasonal for Halloween, Robert tells us) of the 1960's Classic Four hit Spooky, two Dizzy Gillespie classics, and Robert and Nancy's interpretation of the King Pleasure arrangement of I'm in the Mood for Love. Robert emotes on the King Pleasure jazz vocalese part while Nancy quietly provides the original melody and lyric behind him. Nancy amazes us during one tune during which she is featured, paraphrasing both melody and lyric her second time through the song. At the end of the evening, the audience demands an encore; Robert chooses a hard grooving blues interpretation of the little heard Ain't No Use. Everyone goes home happy.
These jazz evenings with Robert at the Bijou are always standing room only. You owe it to yourself to join the audience next time for what is bound to be a memorable musical evening.