We have lost another giant with the passing of LeRoi Moore‚ saxophonist for the Dave Matthews Band. As DMB's pop stature continually grows bigger and takes them further from their jamband roots‚ it has become easy to forget that these are serious musicians whose talent and dedication to musicianship has changed the face of pop music and in many ways have elevated the genre with their infusion of songcraft and jazz savvy.

Say what you want about a great deal of their audience‚ who can seem like a mosaic of frat boys and teenybopper girls‚ but I like to think that even if they don't realize it‚ that portion of their audience is more in touch with the power of music than most who lap up the fodder on the top 40 charts‚ because of the sheer power of the band. Moore was a major force behind that power. Anyone who's ever seen DMB knows that Moore had a presence; he had the look of a saxophone player. He was a sight to behold‚ a big man who would look intimidating if he wasn't blowing his heart out through his glimmering sax. While drummer Carter Buford no doubt supplies the band with its fire‚ in many ways Moore provided the band with its soul.

If anyone needs to know what I'm talking about‚ listen to the band's first live release‚ Live at Red Rocks. On the intro to the very first track‚ "Seek Up‚" Moore does it all. His Miles Davisesque freeform solo opens up the heavens and gives you a sense that anything is possible‚ both musically and in the world. It's inspiring and incendiary. You can't listen to that moment and not be lifted to a higher plain of existence. That's what my mind will always turn to when I think of LeRoi Moore‚ that glorious moment that makes you feel like everything will be OK.

While things might be OK‚ they are certainly a little out of tune this morning with LeRoi's passing. He will be missed.