Obituary: Joseph "Joe" Moore Jr., 1948-2024 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Joseph "Joe" Moore Jr., 1948-2024

Legendary musician with a remarkable career was never less than completely soulful and heartfelt

Published April 2, 2024 at 6:00 a.m.


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Joe Moore Jr. - COURTESY
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  • Joe Moore Jr.
Joseph "Joe" Moore Jr., age 75, passed away on March 26, 2024, in Burlington, Vt. He was born on November 27, 1948, in Columbus, Ohio. Known to all who loved him as "Joe," he was a soulful, earnest and genuine individual. Joe received Christ as his Lord and Savior prior to his passing and is now in the arms of the Lord.

Growing up in central Florida, Joe embarked on a remarkable career in music. He traveled extensively with show bands, including with the renowned Lavell Kamma, and later worked with iconic names in soul music such as Wilson Pickett, the Staple Singers, the Isley Brothers, Slim Harpo, Maceo Parker, Billy Stewart, Billy Bland, Stevie Wonder, Lloyd Sims and the Manhattans. Joe's contributions to these and other legendary acts will resonate through history.

Joe arrived in Vermont in October 1975 and became a vibrant part of the local music scene as a member of the John Cassell Band, the N-Zones, Big Dolla, the X-Rays, the Spiders (in Rutland), the Spiders (in East Fairfax), the Joe Moore Band, Pork Tornado, the Dave Keller Band, the Nobby Reed Project, the Jeff Salisbury Band, Still Kickin', Bob Stannard & Those Dangerous Bluesmen, Harley Brown Band and Left Eye Jump.

Additionally, Joe has also performed with notables Jon Fishman, Nancy Wilson and Bo Diddley, and he opened for Taj Mahal, Tower of Power and Jimmy Cliff.

Joe gave 110 percent at the bare minimum with every note he played and every song he sang. He was never less than completely soulful and heartfelt, and, according to so many of his bandmates, all that genuine feeling he brought to the bandstand was returned back to him tenfold by the audiences who loved him. We were truly blessed to have him.

Joe also became a Vermont movie star when Martin Guigui put him in his 1999 film My Ex-Girlfriend's Wedding.

Recent quotes from Vermont musicians who have performed with Joe:

  • Tom Buckley (Chair of the Vermont Blues Society) – “Joe Moore is a Vermont treasure. For decades he has brought a special sound, soul and spirit to virtually all of Vermont's stages, and has generously shared his gifts with his fans and fellow musicians.”
  • Martin Guigui – “Everyone who shared music, laughs and good times with Joe Moore are feeling a similar heartbreak. However, when it comes to the one and only Joe Moore ­– it will always feel like he is still with us, forever…
    ‘Put the money where the great is.’
    Love you so much my soul brother.”
  • Jon Fishman (Pork Tornado/Phish) – “Whenever Pork Tornado was about to go on stage, I'd always ask Joe, ‘Hey man, how you feelin', Joe?’ and he would always respond with conviction, ‘I'm ready to do my job.’ So, now Joe has run into a little problem with this shitty disease called cancer and he's asked his friends for help. I can only answer with the same conviction Joe has been known for, ‘I'm ready to do my job.’”
  • Dennis Willmott (Left Eye Jump) - "Joe's instinctive ability of where to attack on a blues tune with that amazing tenor saxophone could only come from huge experience and huge feeling. Joe's sound is irreplaceable!"
  • Bill Darrow (Joe Moore Band) – "Off stage Joe Moore is one of the most soft-spoken, self-deprecating, kind and gentle men you will ever meet. I have never seen him be pushy, aggressive, or pretentious. On stage he is a fiercely inventive, daring soloist who never repeats himself and generates stunning phrases and figures. He does not play notey embellishments or showy, climactic riffs – his playing is from the heart. Joe knows the canon of American soul, blues and R&B during the 50's-80s cold. Although he resists correcting others, during rehearsals with his band he will gently correct a sideman playing a generic part, pointing out that the part in question – a bassline, guitar chord, or drum fill – should be this, instead of that. When you hear his precise correction, you know right away he's correct. Listen to the 50-year-old recording of the song and it's exactly as Joe said –­­ you just hadn't noticed that part before. Many of us love blues and soul and labor to play it well, like "real" blues or soul men. Joe is exactly that – and he has graced us with his craft and friendship for many years. He is as authentic as they come. One of my great fortunes in life has been to play with him."
Joe is survived by his daughter, Alexandra Marie; sister, Betty Moore-Hires; nephews, Roderick Jones and Curtis (Davida) and Cedrick Allen; great-nephews and -nieces, Evan and John Curtis Allen and Jasmine and Kaliah Allen; and stepson, Casey Lyon (Maho). He was preceded in death by his parents, Joseph Moore Sr. and Inetha Moore, and brother, Dwayne Moore.

Joe's family would like to thank all of Joe's caregivers and his medical team, especially his loving and true friend Sandy Combs; his neck and back surgeon, Dr. Chason Ziino; and the entire team at the University of Vermont Medical Center ICU department.

Joe's memorial celebration of life service will be held on Saturday, May 25, at the Flynn Main Stage, 153 Main St., Burlington, VT, 4-7pm.

A Joe Moore Youth in Music Foundation is being created as a legacy to Joe and will benefit "his kids" at C.P. Smith Elementary School, where Joe volunteered for years.

Rest in peace, Joe. Your life's legacy in music and service will forever be cherished.

Please visit gregorycremation.com for further memorial service and foundation details.

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