Tom Moon

Tom Moon has been writing about pop, rock, jazz, blues, hip-hop and the music of the world since 1983.

He is the author of the New York Times bestseller 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die (Workman Publishing), and a contributor to other books including The Final Four of Everything.

A saxophonist whose professional credits include stints on cruise ships and several tours with the Maynard Ferguson orchestra, Moon served as music critic at the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1988 until 2004. His work has appeared in Rolling Stone, GQ, Blender, Spin, Vibe, Harp and other publications, and has won several awards, including two ASCAP-Deems Taylor Music Journalism awards. He has contributed to NPR's All Things Considered since 1996.

4:58pm

Tue July 15, 2014
Music Reviews

A Sax Trio Taps Tradition While Thriving In The Present

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:23 pm

Melissa Aldana and Crash Trio released its self-titled debut album in June.
Courtesy of the artist

Melissa Aldana, who became the first female instrumentalist and first South American musician to win the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Saxophone Competition last fall, is not the average talent-contest winner.

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8:36pm

Wed May 28, 2014
A Blog Supreme

Take 75: Great Solos In Blue Note Records History

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 3:55 pm

Clifford Brown turned in a number of fine solos playing with bandleader Art Blakey in 1954.
Francis Wolff Courtesy of Blue Note Records

Blue Note Records has been many things over the course of its 75 years: a label responsible for blinding jazz innovations, a home for the titans of hard bop and soul jazz, a place for smart, sly, jazz-inflected pop creations.

One constant running throughout its history is improvisation. Its records have showcased jazz soloing in every possible mood and temperament. Its artists, both the jazz legends and those journeymen who are little regarded today, have helped shape the ever-evolving notion of what a solo is and what it can be.

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4:19pm

Tue February 25, 2014
Music Reviews

Album Review: 'Morning Phase'

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 11:05 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The singer and songwriter Beck is considered one of the most innovative artists of his generation. This week, he released "Morning Phase," his first new album in six years. Critic Tom Moon says the new record returns back to the brooding pop of 2002's "Sea Change," which many consider his best work.

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5:12pm

Fri December 13, 2013
Music Reviews

When Donny Hathaway, Thelonious Monk And Neil Young Hit A Turning Point

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 7:29 pm

Live at the Cellar Door, the new album from Neil Young, was recorded in 1970.
Gary Burden Courtesy of the artist

4:41pm

Tue October 1, 2013
Music Reviews

Steady And Swingin': Tootie Keeps The Tempo

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 6:38 pm

From left: pianist Ethan Iverson, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath and bassist Ben Street.
John Rogers Courtesy of the artist

Since playing on John Coltrane's first release in 1957, drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath has participated in a number of landmark jazz records. Now 78, the musician is featured in a new trio session with players nearly half his age — pianist Ethan Iverson of The Bad Plus and bassist Ben Street.

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4:18pm

Tue August 6, 2013
Music Reviews

Buddy Guy: 'Rhythm And Blues' Titan Channels Guitar Wisdom

Originally published on Tue August 6, 2013 7:25 pm

Buddy Guy's new two-disc set is titled Rhythm & Blues.
Courtesy of the artist

5:43pm

Tue May 21, 2013
Music Reviews

Pat Metheny And John Zorn: A Vivid Sound World

Best known for bright, accessible modern jazz, Pat Metheny takes on an experimental composer's work with the new Tap: John Zorn's Book of Angels, Vol. 20.
Jimmy Katz Courtesy of the artist

Guitarist Pat Metheny is revered for his bright, accessible modern jazz. Saxophonist and composer John Zorn is associated with much knottier, often dissonant experiments.

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3:27pm

Wed January 30, 2013
Music Reviews

A 1969 Bootleg Unearths Miles Davis' 'Lost' Quintet

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 6:18 pm

Miles Davis' Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 is a compilation of previously unreleased material performed by a short-lived incarnation of his touring band.
Courtesy of the artist

After a slew of multidisc sets devoted to key points in the career of Miles Davis, you'd think Columbia Records would have unearthed every speck of consequential music by now. But not quite.

This week, Columbia brings out Live in Europe 1969: The Bootleg Series Vol. 2 — a three-CD, one-DVD set devoted to the jazz maverick's "lost" quintet, his touring band from 1969.

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2:58pm

Fri October 19, 2012
Music Reviews

Elina Duni: Love, Lust And Albanian Folk Songs

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 7:12 pm

On Matane Malit, the Elina Duni Quartet lays expansive instrumentation over traditional Albanian folk melodies.
Blerta Kambo Courtesy of the artist

The spread of formal jazz education has created a new breed of global musician: one who uses improvisation, and other devices associated with jazz, to transform folk and traditional music. The Albanian singer Elina Duni is part of this rising class. Her latest release, Matane Malit ("Beyond the Mountain"), offers a transfixing balance of old and new.

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4:10pm

Mon June 25, 2012
Music Reviews

A Posthumous Masterpiece Adds To E.S.T.'s Legacy

Originally published on Wed June 27, 2012 10:51 am

E.S.T. was Esbjorn Svensson, Dan Berglund and Magnus Ostrom.
Jim Rakete

When the pianist Esbjorn Svensson died in a scuba accident in 2008, many fans of his group, the Swedish trio known as E.S.T., wondered if there might be some unreleased experiments lurking in a studio vault. There were. Just out is a disc called 301, which was recorded in 2008 during sessions for the group's final album.

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