Oscar Moore

Oscar Frederic Moore (December 25, 1916 – October 8, 1981) was an American jazz guitarist known for his ten years with the King Cole Trio, a working jazz ensemble that included pianist and singer Nat King Cole.

Moore was born in Austin, Texas, the son of a blacksmith and his wife. By the time of the 1930 United States Census, the Moore family had moved to Phoenix, Arizona where Oscar eventually began performing with his older brother Johnny, who played both trombone and guitar. The younger Moore relocated to Los Angeles, California by mid-1936. In September of the following year, he participated in his first recording session as part of the Jones Boys Sing Band for Decca Records, led and arranged by Leon René. The group attracted some local attention via radio spots and two short films for MGM directed by Buster Keaton. Sometime the same month that Oscar first recorded with the Jones Boys, he accompanied pianist and vocalist Nat King Cole in an extended engagement at Bob Lewis’s Swanee Inn, North La Brea, Hollywood. He would end up spending ten years with Cole in the piano-guitar-bass trio format that influenced Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Ahmad Jamal, and countless cocktail combos throughout the jazz world. Initially the group was collective unit, but the group was re-structured after experiencing chart success with Capitol Records in the mid-1940s. This change in how the group was managed, as well as life on the road contributed to Moore's eventual departure from the musical organization, as he intimated to journalist John Tynan ten years after her left the group.

In addition to the commercial success enjoyed by the Trio, Moore was singled out for praise during the group's heyday. He placed or topped polls in Downbeat, Metronome, and Esquire magazines from 1943 through 1948. Even pianist Art Tatum professed his admiration for Moore in a 1944 magazine interview.

After he left the King Cole Trio in October 1947, he joined his brother in Johnny Moore's Three Blazers as a featured member of that group into the early 1950s. Oscar formed his own working trio in 1952 and was active around the Los Angeles area. He recorded sessions both under his own leadership and as a sideman throughout the 1950s, but his career as a performer and recording artist ended abruptly at the decade's conclusion at which time he left the music industry. He returned to the recording studio in 1965 to record a tribute to the then recently-deceased Cole and again resurfaced in the 1970s briefly backing Helen Humes. Moore died of a heart attack in Clark, Nevada, in 1981.

Birth and Death Data: Born December 25th, 1916 (Austin), Died October 8th, 1981 (Las Vegas)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1940 - 1941

Roles Represented in DAHR: guitar, vocalist

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 28 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor PBS-049674 10-in. 5/10/1940 House of Morgan Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quintet instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor PBS-049675 10-in. 5/10/1940 I'd be lost without you Helen Forrest ; Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quintet, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor PBS-049676 10-in. 5/10/1940 Central Avenue breakdown Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quintet instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor PBS-049677 10-in. 5/10/1940 Jack the bellboy Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quartet instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor PBS-049932 10-in. 7/17/1940 Dough-ra-me Hampton Rhythm Boys ; Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quintet instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor PBS-049933 10-in. 7/17/1940 Jivin' with Jarvis King Cole Trio ; Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quintet, with vocal instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor PBS-049934 10-in. 7/17/1940 Blue because of you Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quintet instrumentalist, guitar  
Victor PBS-049935 10-in. 7/17/1940 I don't stand a ghost of a chance with you Helen Forrest ; Lionel Hampton Orchestra Jazz/dance quintet, with female vocal solo instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69356 10-in. 6/13/1941 Lucille Art Tatum and his Band instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69357 10-in. 6/13/1941 Rock me Mama Art Tatum and his Band instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69358 10-in. 6/13/1941 Corrine, Corrina Art Tatum and his Band instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69359 10-in. 6/13/1941 Lonesome graveyard blues Art Tatum and his Band instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69504 10-in. 7/16/1941 This will make you laugh-2 King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69505 10-in. 7/16/1941 Stop, the red light's on-1 King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69506 10-in. 7/16/1941 Hit the ramp (Instrumental) King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69507 10-in. 7/16/1941 I like to riff-1 King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69850 10-in. 10/22/1941 Call the police-1 King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69851 10-in. 10/22/1941 Are you fer it? King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69852 10-in. 10/22/1941 That ain't right King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 69853 10-in. 10/22/1941 Hit that jive, Jack-1 King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 93596 10-in. 3/14/1941 Babs-1 King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Decca 93597 10-in. 3/14/1941 Scotchin' with the soda-1 King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar, vocalist  
Decca 93598 10-in. 3/14/1941 Slow down King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca 93599 10-in. 3/14/1941 Early morning blues (instr. ) King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
Decca DLA 2255 10-in. 12/6/1940 Sweet Lorraine King Cole Trio instrumentalist, guitar  
(Results 1-25 of 28 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Moore, Oscar," accessed October 21, 2020, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106527.

Moore, Oscar. (2020). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved October 21, 2020, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106527.

"Moore, Oscar." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2020. Web. 21 October 2020.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/106527

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