Kenneth L. Moore, 45, musician performed with Tina Turner

April 01, 1997|By Robert Hilson Jr. | Robert Hilson Jr.,SUN STAFF

Kenneth L. Moore, who as a child performed gospel music in Baltimore churches with his sisters as part of the Moore Singers and later played with the Tina Turner band, died March 25 of undetermined causes while on tour in Australia. He was 45.

Mr. Moore, who lived in Los Angeles in recent years, had been the musical director, a background vocalist and keyboard player for Ms. Turner's band since 1977.

"He was always the boss as far as the musical arrangements went," said Janet Arlington, a longtime friend who is associated with the group. "He always knew what songs should be played and how they should be played."

In addition to performing with Ms. Turner, Mr. Moore wrote songs that he performed and wrote music for other singers -- including Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight.

"He seemed to know what songs would be right for other performers," Ms. Arlington said. "He seemed to be able to write the song to fit the performer's voice and personality."

In 1994, Mr. Moore co-wrote two songs on Patti LaBelle's "Gems" compact disc, and, in 1989, he had a solo CD called "Love Is The Key."

Although Mr. Moore dreamed of having a solo career, he enjoyed touring and performing with Tina Turner.

"He always thought of her [Ms. Turner] as being very personable and considered her his mother away from home," said his sister, Carolyn Bolden of Baltimore. "I know he wanted his own career, but he was happy with her."

A native of West Baltimore, Mr. Moore graduated from Frederick Douglass High School in 1969 and attended Morgan State University in the early 1970s. While in high school, he also took piano lessons at Peabody Institute.

He began playing the piano at age 4 and, before he was 10, he and his three sisters formed the Moore Singers group that sang gospel music in the Baltimore and Washington areas.

"Music was just something that was in his blood, it was something that came naturally to him," said his sister, Vanessa Franklin of Baltimore. "It was something he was born to do. I've never known him to play baseball or a sport, he was always into music."

The Moore Singers performed for free and disbanded when he was a teen-ager.

In 1973, Mr. Moore moved to Los Angeles and played keyboards and was a vocalist with the Rev. James Cleveland's gospel group until 1976. He began performing with Tina Turner the following year.

Although he performed rhythm and blues with the Turner band, he probably enjoyed playing and singing gospel more.

"He changed because playing with Tina was his job," Ms. Bolden said. "He was very dedicated to Tina, so as long as she was touring, he'd put all of his attention into that."

Services are scheduled for 10: 30 a.m. Saturday at Jones Tabernacle Baptist Church, 2100 W. Baltimore St.

Mr. Moore also is survived by a third sister, Gloria Murray of Baltimore; four nephews; and a niece.

Pub Date: 4/01/97

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