LeRoi Moore (Wikimedia Commons/antsmarching.org)
Five years ago today, saxophonist LeRoi Moore, a founding member of the Dave Matthews Band, died. His music shaped the band's sound, and the songs he co-wrote helped drive them to the top of the charts.
Born on September 7, 1961, Moore grew up in Virginia. As a young man, he played with the John D'earth Quintet, performing weekly at Charlottesville bar Miller's. That's where he met South African-born Dave Matthews, who was tending bar there in 1991. Matthews was blown away by Moore's sound and approached him to play on some demos. Skeptical at first, Moore eventually agreed to give it a shot. It was a great decision and the beginning of a beautiful friendship – within three years, the band would release Under the Table and Dreaming and catapult to fame.
Moore's sax work was an integral part of the Dave Matthews Band's layered, multi-instrumental sound (rounded out with Boyd Tinsley's fiddle and Peter Griesar's harmonica, in addition to the standard rock-band instrumentation). When the band played live, Moore's transcendent saxophone solos brought the music to a new level.
Moore wasn't limited to one instrument, either, playing bass, baritone, tenor, alto and soprano sax, as well as other wind instruments like flute, pennywhistle and oboe.
And he wrote, too – many of the band's songs were arranged by Moore, and he took co-writing credits on songs like "Stay (Wasting Time)" and "Too Much."
Moore stayed with the Dave Matthews Band for 17 years, missing his first show the day after being injured in an ATV accident on June 30, 2008. Just days before his accident, he had played with the band at the Nissan Pavilion in his home state of Virginia. Moore's injuries would lead to his death fewer than two months later.
"…He would put that horn in his mouth and make the most astonishingly honest music that could knock you over, and it would sink right to the middle of you." –Dave Matthews, speaking at LeRoi Moore's funeral
Written by Linnea Crowther