Why you won’t hear any jazz standards at Eddie Moore’s new series

Photography by Jason Piggie

Since Eddie Moore arrived in Kansas City in 2010, he has been a trailblazer on the jazz fusion scene and beyond. His original music draws heavily from hip-hop with live sampling and looping, as well as soul and rock, all while remaining deeply rooted in the improvisatory nature and tradition of jazz. His 2013 debut album as a bandleader, The Freedom of Expression by Eddie Moore & The Outer Circle, gained momentum and was awarded a solid review from Downbeat Magazine. In August, in conjunction with Charlotte Street Foundation, Moore launched a one-of-a-kind multimedia performance series: ProdoLAB. The series brings together creatives of all types, combining improvised music and visual art.

As a longtime and avid advocate for original jazz music on the local scene, Moore formerly hosted a weekly jam session called Fresh2Def at Tank Room (now the Black Dolphin) and recordBar for improvisers of all genres. But there was one stipulation to the jam session: There were to be no covers and no jazz standards—original music only. Moore brought in countless R&B and hip-hop artists to headline throughout the jam session’s five-year run, giving artists a platform for their original music and young improvisers an opportunity to broaden their skills and vocabulary.

But now, like many, Moore is entering a new chapter of his career after reemerging from the pandemic. While he remains an active performer, he is focusing his energies on elevating Kansas City’s creative community, primarily through education and curation.

“I don’t want to be a nomad forever,” Moore says. “I’m just as interested in enriching the area around me as I am in touring.” Moore has become an integral member of the Charlotte Street Foundation, curating the monthly ProdoLAB series. Every fourth Thursday of the month, ProdoLAB brings an electronic music producer, soloist, and visual artist together to collaborate on an hour-long, immersive performance in the Charlotte Street Foundation’s new, state-of-the-art black box theater. As a longtime educator, Moore joined the faculty at KU this semester, teaching jazz combos and a history of hip-hop course. Now Moore has a wider platform to encourage and uplift young jazz musicians to write and perform their original music.

“I’m trying to make a lane for original and different-thinking improvised music,” Moore says.

GO: ProdoLAB with Ryan Lee, Charlotte Street Foundation, 3333 Wyoming St., KCMO. Thursday, December 23. 7 pm.

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