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.

Remembrances
3:07 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Rolling Stones Saxophonist Bobby Keys Dies

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 4:24 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Saxophonist Bobby Keys was still a teenager when he started playing with his fellow Texan Buddy Holly and pop star Bobby Vee. Later, he joined up with the Rolling Stones. And for more than 40 years, Bobby Keys' powerful sax was a key part of their sound.

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Music
2:58 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Art As Conversation: Three New Collaborative Albums

Nels Cline and Julian Lage's new collaborative album is called Room.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 2:37 pm

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Music Reviews
2:36 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

On Final Recording, Joe Beck Exposes Possibilities Of The Guitar

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Music Reviews
2:44 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

A Sax Trio Taps Tradition While Thriving In The Present

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

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 5:23 pm

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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Music Reviews
2:06 pm
Tue June 17, 2014

Album Review: 'While You Were Sleeping'

Originally published on Wed June 18, 2014 9:28 am

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, BYLINE: A jazz singer for the hip-hop generation - that's how Jose James was described after he released his first album last year for the famed Blue Note record label. James has now released a follow-up. It's called, While You Were Sleeping. And reviewer Tom Moon says the 35-year-old shows phenomenal growth.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING")

JOSE JAMES: (Singing) Shadows long upon my face. Shadows long upon my face.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: Catch up with Jose James now because he's a rarity - an artist evolving at warp speed.

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A Blog Supreme
6:58 pm
Wed May 28, 2014

Take 75: Great Solos In Blue Note Records History

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

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 1:55 pm

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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Music Reviews
2:03 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Album Review: 'Everyday Robots'

Originally published on Thu May 1, 2014 12:28 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Damon Albarn's first solo album is out today. Albarn was the frontman of the acclaimed British rock band Blur in the '90s, and since 2000, he has spearheaded the multi-platinum group Gorillaz.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "THE WINDMILL")

GORILLAZ: (Singing) Take it all it on your stride. And it's sticking, falling down. Love forever...

SIEGEL: Reviewer Tom Moon says Albarn's new work seeks out the flipside to the Gorillaz' manic intensity. The new album "Everyday Robots."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "EVERYDAY ROBOTS")

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The Record
2:42 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

In Rio, A Universe Of Samba

Sitting around what looks like a conference table with a small group of musicians, guitarist Moacyr Luz (center) leads his samba group.
Courtesy of QK

Originally published on Tue March 4, 2014 4:31 pm

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Music Reviews
2:35 pm
Tue February 25, 2014

Album Review: 'Morning Phase'

Originally published on Wed March 5, 2014 9:05 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

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Music Reviews
2:29 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Album Review: 'Sun Structures,' By Temples

Originally published on Wed February 12, 2014 6:00 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Finally this hour, a new perspective on the enduring influence of The Beatles. It comes from another four-piece British rock band called Temples. The group is from the town of Kettering. Critics have been raving about them since last summer. Their debut album, "Sun Structures," has now been released here in the U.S. And hearing it might whisk you away to 1960s Liverpool. Here's our critic, Tom Moon.

TOM MOON, BYLINE: If nothing else, Temples has impeccable timing.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHELTER SONG")

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Music Reviews
2:35 pm
Fri December 13, 2013

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

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

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 5:29 pm

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Music Reviews
3:21 pm
Tue October 1, 2013

Steady And Swingin': Tootie Keeps The Tempo

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

Originally published on Tue October 1, 2013 4:38 pm

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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Music Reviews
2:55 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

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

Originally published on Tue May 21, 2013 3:43 pm

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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Music Reviews
2:38 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Dawes' Story Gets A Fine New Chapter

Dawes' new album is titled Stories Don't End.
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon April 22, 2013 8:14 pm

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The Record
1:43 pm
Sat March 30, 2013

Phil Ramone, A Record Producer Who Made Simplicity Sound Sublime, Dies

Phil Ramone in New York in 1997.
Ken Weingart Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 30, 2013 3:17 pm

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Music Reviews
4:30 pm
Thu February 28, 2013

Atoms For Peace: Thom Yorke's Electronic Shadow-World

Atoms For Peace's debut album is called Amok.
Eliot Lee Hazel Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 6:44 pm

When singer Thom Yorke stepped away from his influential rock band Radiohead in 2006 to release The Eraser, many thought the quirky electronic project was a one-off. Not so, it turns out. Yorke and producer Nigel Godrich called on rock-star friends for a tour, and since then, the group has convened occasionally in the studio.

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Music Reviews
2:46 pm
Mon February 4, 2013

Is Fleetwood Mac's Expanded 'Rumours' A Bit Much?

Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Tue February 5, 2013 8:29 am

An expanded version of Fleetwood Mac's 1977 album Rumours comes out this week, to mark the 35th anniversary of one of the top-selling albums of the '70s. The deluxe set includes demos, outtakes from the recording sessions, live recordings and a documentary DVD, along with a vinyl pressing of the original album.

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Music Reviews
1:27 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

A 1969 Bootleg Unearths Miles Davis' 'Lost' Quintet

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

Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 4:18 pm

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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Music Reviews
1:13 pm
Fri October 19, 2012

Elina Duni: Love, Lust And Albanian Folk Songs

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

Originally published on Fri October 19, 2012 5:12 pm

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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