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Joseph Patrick Moore's skill on the bass is fluid and versatile, allowing his talent to shine whether he's playing on his own jazz CDs or freelancing on other musicians' releases, performing in an ensemble setting, or backing the musical theater performances of Carol Channing or Jerry Lewis. His desire to play an instrument showed itself early, and Moore started on the alto sax as a youngster in the fourth grade. He continued on the instrument until his sophomore year of high school, when he joined the marching band and picked up the drums. Within a few years, he took up the electric bass and became a music student of Rusty Holloway, who had worked with Woody Herman. Moore also started playing out in the evenings in a band called Sage, on the stages of various local nightspots. From 1989 through 1991, the bassist was enrolled in the University of Tennessee on a full scholarship. There, in addition to studying with Holloway, he became a student of Donald Brown and Jerry Coker. While at the university, Moore performed in the band Salsa Blue, and also at one time played with Judy Collins and the Knoxville Symphony, as well as Gil Scott.
Moore left the University of Tennessee in 1991 and headed to the University of Memphis, a location he felt would afford him more professional performance gigs. It wasn't long before he was playing in the Charlie Wood Trio each evening for a period of two years. He also spent time teaching and doing studio work. As the recipient of the Milton J. Hinton Scholarship in 1993, he was able to continue his education in jazz. Beginning the following year, the bassist performed in the jazz outfit Memphis Groovetet through 1997; Alvie Givahn on piano and Renardo Ward on drums completed the lineup. Moore put out the first of his albums, Never Never Land, in 1996 through a label that he established, Moore Music Productions. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences honored Moore a year later with an award nomination. Also in 1997, the bassist settled in Atlanta, where he became acquainted with Colonel Bruce Hampton. The meeting led to a yearlong gig with Hampton and his Fiji Mariners. When Hampton moved on and founded Planet Zambee, Moore played in the new band, too.