Marching in Heaven, CD Liner Notes by Stan Meyers, WBGO Radio Station, Newark, NJ

I imagine it must hold true in most artistic disciplines, I know it does in jazz, that there is an inordinate amount of exceptional talent that goes unnoticed.  For whatever reason, you name it; these people never seem to get that certain break.  Realizing that is is not a new story, however it stilll amazes me.  Guitarist Geary Moore is one of those talents.

Coming from Pittsburgh, the hotbed of so many pioneers in jazz, I am sure that Geary’s exposure to music and home training have added to this talent.  When I heard him some years ago he was already an accomplished musician.  Since then he has become fully-grown, evolving into a leading innovator on his instrument.

This CD is the result of a lot of time and effort on Geary’s part.  The title “Marching in Heaven” is dedicated to his brother who ws tragically killed in New York some years ago.  Parts of this effort were put together at various times over the course of several years.  Finally it is brought to fruition in the presentation with an outstanding array of muscians.

Dr. Lonnie Smith, master of the organ and synthesizer, here shows off his abilities on piano.   Lonnie is outstanding!  Marvin”Smitty” Smith for years has been in the forefront as accompanist of choice to so many top muscians, not to mention his work in the Kevin U Banks Band on The Jay Leno Show.  Don Williams, like Geary is one of those talents in need of wider recognition.  A top-flight drummer from Newark who has worked with such people as Red Hollaway, Arthur Prysock and Jimmy McGriff.  Don and Geary have worked together for over 20 years!

Greg Kilpatrick has worked as musician, composer and producer with a number of local bands.  Here he shows off his skills on a variety of instruments as through the wizardry of electronics he plays all the music on his own composition.  John Cloy, currently residing in Atlanta, plays tenor sax.  He is a graduate of Rutgers Jazz Program and now cooks down “south”

Guitarist Chucks it all to Fulfill his Dream: Moore has no regrets about giving it a go as full-time musician and teacher

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Zan Stewart, Star Ledger, Newark, NJ   May 27, 2005

On a Saturday concert at Ramapo College in Mahway earlier this month organist Jimmy McGriff, guitarist Geary Moore played with spirit and persuasion, on anything from a slow blues in F to an invigorating look at Sonny Rollins “St. Thomas.”  The previous Tuesday, Moore, serving as one of the leaders of the weekly jam session at the Crossroads Restaurant in Garwood, was also dynamic, evincing a ringing sound and a hip sense of swing.

Music means the world to Moore – who appears Friday and Saturday at Cecil’s Jazz Club in West Orange.  So much so that in 1995, the Pittsburgh native, then living in South Orange, gave up a lucrative job as an electrical engineer at AT&T Bell Labs in Whippany to pursue his passion without restraint.  “I wanted to fulfill my dream, to be a full-time musician”, said Moore, who moved to New Jersey in 1969 and now lives in West Orange.  “By then, my kids had grown up and moved out.  I had to decide if I could live without these material things – a house in South Orange, a new Lincoln every year – that really weren’t making me happy”.  So Moore took a chance, sold his house and car, and ultimately got a divorce.  And he started growing his hair; his braids (dreadlocks) now reach his waist.  “My hair is a symbol of my freedom,” of his new life, he said.

Playing full-time has not made Moore rich, but it has made him happy.  “I have fulfillment tht I never felt before,” he said.  “It took a lot of courage to do what I did, but I had to do it”

Moore looked over his career and talked about some of his accomplishments.  In 1997, in a group with singer Melba Joyce – as one of six bands chosen as the Kennedy Center’s Jazz Ambassadors – he spent a month and a half in Africa.  “We went to Namibia, Angola, Cameroon and Nigeria, giving concerts, doing master classes, leading jam sessions,” he said.  “It was the greatest experience of my life.”

Also in the last 90′s he appeared on the first Giants of Jazz program in South Orange, along with such notables as Phil Woods, Jackie McLean and Mulgrew Miller.  Ans since 1999, Moore has been a teacher with the NYC-based Jazzmobile, helping young musicians.  “It’s been a real honor,” he said.

Moore’s frontline partners at Cecil’s will be organists Dave Braham on Friday and Dan Kostelnik on Saturday.  On drums both nights will be Don Williams, with whom the guitarist began playing in 1971.  “Working with Don is like hanging out with my best friend”, said Moore.  “We have a lot of fun.  He knows how to drive an organ band, making the groove exciting”.

Of the organists at Cecil’s, Moore said Kostelnik reminds him of some of the top-notch organists he’s played with over the years, like Don Patterson and Big John Patton, who lived in Montclair.  “Dan has that same type of groove”, he said.  Ditto for Braham.  The fellows will investigate a mix of standards like “Invitation” and Moore’s originals, like the medium-tempoed “Such a Lovely day” and “Donna”.

Moore picked up the guitar at age 16, and soon thereafter fell in love with jazz.  “I went to a club where (organists) Jimmy McGriff and Jack McDuff were playing,” he recalled.  “I was hooked. I said that’s what I want to do with the rest of my life.”