September 14, 2016
Founding Dave Matthews Band member LeRoi Holloway Moore (September 7, 1961-August 19, 2008) was born in Durham, North Carolina and raised in Charlottesville, Virginia. LeRoi began playing the alto saxophone in the junior high school band, and played in the band during his tenure at Western Albemarle high school. He studied tenor saxophone at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.
LeRoi had become an accomplished jazz musician in Charlottesville prior to founding DMB, playing with artists such as John D’earth and Dawn Thompson. He helped found the Charlottesville Swing Orchestra and the John D’earth Quintet. The John D’earth Quintet played weekly Thursday night gigs at Miller’s in Charlottesville in the late 80s into early 90s. It was on one of those Thursday evenings in 1991 that LeRoi and Dave Matthews first met. LeRoi began providing instrumental arrangements for a few of the songs that Dave had written and shortly thereafter, began recording songs with Dave. LeRoi and Carter were jazz compatriots for years before the meeting with Dave, performing together in many informal gigs and jam sessions.
LeRoi has been credited for arranging much of the music to lyrics written by Dave. Throughout his musical career, LeRoi played bass, baritone, tenor, alto, and soprano saxophones as well as the flute, bass clarinet, wooden penny whistle and oboe. In addition to performing with Dave Matthews Band, LeRoi appeared on Code Magenta’s self-titled album, on Soko’s album In November Sunlight and Nas’s album Hip Hop is Dead.
LeRoi passed away in August of 2008 from complications sustained in an ATV accident occurring in late June. Dave said of LeRoi at the funeral service in Charlottesville, “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.”
LeRoi will forever be known as an incredibly talented musician who was blessed with the ability to fluidly traverse jazz, funk, rock and classical musical styles. He will always be remembered as being one of the few saxophonists to become a key member of a rock/pop band, ultimately changing the way a saxophonist is perceived in a rock band.