A native of Austin, Texas, Quentin Moore has every reason to feel content. Smiling widely for the front cover of You Forgot Your Heart, his latest album, Moore is the quintessential self-contained artist. A gifted singer (swooning from deep second alto to searing tenor), and multi-instrumentalist (piano, guitar, electric organ), Moore performs with the virtuosity of a well-heeled seasoned professional. Like most master craftsmen who hold the luxury of calling all the shots, Moore has a tendency for extravagance, but he can be forgiven for wanting to display all his musical chops in one fell swoop.
Moore's latest offering (following on from his well-received 2009 debut album, Vintage Love), bears all the hallmarks of a major album release despite being independently produced; it's big productions and live instrumentation allowing Moore plenty of opportunity to shine. Organic and inventive, he breaths in the various musical styles of jazz, rock, funk, soul and R&B with natural aplomb, while his skills as a singer and songwriter are amply displayed. If, like most people, you have often mused over the state of modern R&B wondering where in the world it is headed, then the name Quentin Moore will hopefully change your perception. It's all here in a dazzling, yet understated display of vocal dexterity and fluid precision that is wonderfully executed. Clean, crisp, polished, and with a touch of raspy grit, Moore's voice is as infectious as the inspired interplay between the fellow musicians who ride the various grooves for all they’re worth. One listen to You Forgot Your Heart could be the start of a musical love affair.
Touching on various themes from the social to the political, You Forgot Your Heart is a passion-driven album that Moore has written, arranged and produced himself. Helping to cultivate his vintage, yet contemporary sound of warm fender-Rhodes and luminous jazz touches is co-producer Kevin "KP" Pitman and an assortment of players, including Vandel Andrew, proficient on both the tenor sax and flute. Moore's free flowing musicality and uncompromising lyrical stance is also admirably displayed. "I Wanna Be In Love," for example, is a no-holds-barred fusion of rock and soul: "I'm tired of the comfort zone / Feeling good ain't good enough / I'm tired of the disconnect / I need someone on the same wave length/ I'm tired of the next ex-cycle / don't care for a fashion show/ Beauty alone can't keep the show on the road." Featuring the rhythmic rhyming of rapper Arkansas Bo, Moore's fusion of slamming rock, melded into the cooling piano-laced jazz tinkling and chainsaw buzzing guitar shouldn't work, but somehow it does. Applying the same level of ferocity, the slamming, frantic and rock-infused spandex funk of "Witch," with its elasticated guitar, has Moore throwing down with wild abandonment over a woman whose is just no good: "I just wanted to love ya," Moore exclaims in growling James Brown like screams.
Whether it's strutting funk ("Y.O.L.O."), joyous contentment (It's Funny"), or the wistful lover’s lament ("I Miss My Baby"), Moore fires off on all cylinders revealing the true brilliance of his rich talent. The best songs however, are saved until the end. "I Could Fall In Love," a duet with Tess Henley is the album’s undoubted highlight. Ms. Henley's lush, passionate and intoxicating voice moves with slow sensuality showing her to be a supreme vocalist mature beyond her years; her languishing silky tones coolly slink their way through the songs head-bopping persuasive melody. As classy as it gets, this R&B love-jam, punctuated and perfumed with festive horns then, rather surprisingly, saunters into an almost samba-like-jazz dance towards the song’s fade, further cementing Moore's inventive and artistic audacity with a song. The delicate, "So In Love," with its subtle finger clicks, acoustic guitar strums and cascading piano brings the album to a plaintive, yet soaring close.
In his quest to inspire and uplift, Quentin Moore's sophomore album is as fully realized, and near to perfection as it gets. Impossibly talented, there is much over which to enjoy and marvel. For a man who has shared the stage with such legendary figures as Chaka Khan and the late Ollie Woodson of the Temptations, and one who aspires to be as good as any of his musical idols, Moore is certainly on his way. But since perfection is an attainment reached by few, we wait in anticipation for his next installment as Moore, with heart in hand, reaches to the sky.
By Garry Moran