Saturday, February 26, 2011

Jemeel Moondoc is Outta This World

One of the most satisfying things about jazz collecting is that I keep finding really brilliant jazz artists of whom I have never heard. Friday afternoon I chanced upon the entry for Jemeel Moondoc in the Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings. That was an afternoon well spent.

Moondoc was born in 1951 in Chicago, which makes him relatively young in the circle of jazz geniuses.  He is an avant garde sax player who developed as a protege of Cecil Taylor.  Moondoc has also recorded frequently with master bass player and composer William Parker.  My love for Parker's Midas touch has deepened steadily over the last two years or so.  Everything Parker comes near turns to jazz gold.

Moondoc's album Nostalgia in Times Square is one glittering example.   In addition to Moondoc on alto and Parker on bass, Bern Nix plays guitar, Rahn Burton piano and Dennis Charles is on drums.  Don't get me wrong: this is Moondoc's work.  There are four cuts on the album including the title piece (a cover of a Mingus tune) and three Moondoc compositions.  I think that the original pieces are all better than the Mingus cover.  Best of all, you can get the MP3 download from Amazon for a cool $3.56.  You'd be very, very lucky to pick it up at a yard sale for that. 

The album is very accessible jazz with an avant garde bite to it.  I have added "Flora" to my Live365 play list.  That is the best of the four cuts, but all of them are good.  "In Walked Monk" is a nice piece of homage, but I think that the last cut, "Dance of the Clowns" is both better and more Monkish.  This is superb jazz.  Take my word for it and download the album.  I'll be picking up some more Moondoc after payday.

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