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|
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.
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