LeRoi Moore: 1961–2008

I wasn’t planning on posting anything today, but last night I heard the news of the passing of LeRoi Moore of the Dave Matthews Band. Moore was injured in an ATV accident in June on his farm near Charlottesville, VA. He died Tuesday in a Los Angeles hospital from complications stemming from his injuries.

Admittedly, I’ve lost track of the Dave Matthews Band over the last couple of years, but their music was an ever present part of my college experience. I traded recordings of live shows with other fans, spent too much time on the message boards at (the now defunct) nancies.org, and drove from state to state to attend show after show. The DMB, and Moore’s saxophones, made up a large part of my music listening during those years. I’ve been revisiting some of that music today.

On stage and off, LeRoi Moore was the quiet one of the group. He didn’t dance around like front man Dave Matthews. He wasn’t demonstrative like fiddle player Boyd Tinsley. He wasn’t outspoken like bass player Stefan Lessard. He wasn’t a blur of motion like drummer Carter Beauford. Moore stood on the side of the stage with his shades and his sax and he played. And I listened.

Here are a few tracks that highlight LeRoi Moore and his playing. The first comes from the oft-bootlegged “Lillywhite Sessions,” a collection of songs recorded with producer Steve Lillywhite in 1999 and 2000 that were never officially released. This version of “Bartender” is, I believe, LeRoi’s strongest moment as he plays dueling saxophones during the song’s extended outro. The “buy album” link for this song will take you to the 2002 release Busted Stuff which contains a different version of the song.

The second track, “Lie in Our Graves,” comes from the DMB’s 1997 release, Live at Red Rocks. Dave Matthews said recently that he first fell in love with LeRoi’s playing after hearing his rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” at a jazz club in Charlottesville. This version of “Lie in Our Graves” features an extended jam from LeRoi in the middle of the song… as well as a snippet of the tune that first brought him to Matthews’ attention.

Here’s to LeRoi Moore, who today is sittin’ on top of the world with his legs hanging free. He’ll be missed.

Dave Matthews Band: Bartender (Buy Album)
Dave Matthews Band: Lie in Our Graves (Buy Album)

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