Aaron Moore
Hello World
Delmark 695
Hard to believe that this is Moore's debut album, considering he has been a veteran of the Chicago blues scene since the '50s. Moore plunked the piano for Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter and Hound Dog Taylor, strictly as a sideman. Influenced by the keyboard stylings of Roosevelt Sykes and Memphis Slim, Moore worked only weekend gigs, opting for the security of a full-time day job with the Windy City's Bureau of Sanitation, turning down road gigs with Willie Dixon and the mighty Wolf. So his talent has remained largely unknown until now.

Hello World has a refreshing "old school" approach in its execution and production. There is the nice, laid-back, no-frills sound of Golden Age Chicago blues scene at work here. Accompanied by fellow Chicago vets James Wheeler on guitar and the rhythm section of Willie Black and Robert "Huckleberry Hound" Wright, Moore evokes a relaxed, unfussy blue mood: no fat, no bombast, just a straight-ahead, uncluttered piano-led vibe reminiscent of old Jimmy Reed or Slim Harpo sides.

Moore's smoky vocals and easy-rolling piano style, though definitely of an older, magical time, aren't merely nostalgic; he's carrying on the tradition he grew out of. Wheeler's rhythm work is highly supportive and punctuated by clean, fluid lead work, and the rhythm section plays it understated and swinging. With its emphasis on mood and feel over showing off, Hello World evokes the atmosphere of a friendly, late-night hang.

-- Jon Martinez

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