Reviews that mention Jemeel Moondoc

April 27, 2019

Jameel Moondoc Quartet

The Astral Revelations
RogueArt ROG 0081

One of the second generation of American Free Jazz practitioners following game changers like Cecil Taylor and Ornette Coleman, alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc has spent too much time over the past quarter century away from the spotlight. Yet this live performance of four originals backed by his usual quartet demonstrates the 67-year-old has lost none of his fire or creativity. Chicago-born, New York-based Moondoc, whose affiliations have included the Jus’ Grew orchestra and smaller bands with William Parker, Roy Campbell and others, is backed by bassist Hillard Greene, who has worked with Taylor and Jimmy Scott;, drummer Newman Taylor Baker, who has worked with choreographers and Henry Threadgill; and pianist Matthew Shipp, who has worked with just about everybody. MORE

July 1, 2014

Jameel Moondoc & Connie Crothers

Relative Pitch RPR 1009

Akira Sakata/Giovanni Di Domenico


Mbari Music mbari 21

Expressively dexterous and modest improvisations, which despite a minimalist presentation skirt the quietude of so-called Chamber Jazz, these reed-piano duos show how much can be invested and extracted from this simple format.

Chief points of demarcation here are radically different. On Iruman, veteran Japanese reedist Akira Sakata gradually toughen the interaction between his playing and that of Italian-born, Brussels-resident pianist Giovanni Di Domenico so that by the climatic final piece they’re engaged in rapid-fire near-atonality. Equally edifying is a disc-meeting between two long-time stalwarts of New York’s advanced music scene. Like the other CD a first-time recording, despite being from so-called different Jazz circles, alto saxophonist Jameel Moondoc and pianist Connie Crothers have actually played together for years. What’s noteworthy about Two though, is that despite the musicians’ membership in the so-called avant garde, the improvisations are rife with near references to standards – Jazz and otherwise. MORE

October 12, 2012

William Parker

Centering: Unreleased Early Recordings 1976–1987
NoBusiness NBCD 42-47

Something In the Air: Discovering Long Hidden Advanced Jazz

By Ken Waxman

When New York’s now justly famous, Vision Festival first took place in 1996 committed jazz fans greeted the event as if they were witnessing a full-fledged musical resurrection. So many advanced players of unbridled free form and experimental sounds were involved that the annual festival soon became a crowded week-long summer happening. Ironically – which was one reason for the Fest’s popularity – these probing sounds and its players were supposed to have vanished after the revolutionary 1960s, superseded first by Jazz-Rock pounders’ simple melodies and then jazz’s Young Lions who aped the sounds and sartorial choices of the 1950s – both of which had major record label support. Still bassist/composer/bandleader William Parker’s Centering: Unreleased Early Recordings 1976–1987 NoBusiness NBCD 42-47 aptly demonstrates, experimental sounds never vanished; they just went underground. As the 24 often lengthy tracks that make up this 6-CD set of hitherto unreleased material substantiates in its breadth of performances, sonically questing players were improvising and composing during those so-called lost years. But it took the founding of the Vision Festival by Parker and his wife, dancer/choreographer Patricia Nicholson, to provide the proper medium for this work. Major stylists such as saxophonists Charles Gayle and David S. Ware, vocalist Ellen Christi and trumpeter Roy Campbell, all of whom are represented in the set, would go on to mentor a multiplying groundswell of younger rule stretchers and future Vision Fest participants. Also, despite being professionally recorded, the conservative climate of the times, plus the cost of producing and distributing LPs, left the tapes used for these CDs stacked in performers’ apartments. Now the belated release of Centering fills in a blank in jazz history, equivalent to what coming across a cache of unreleased John Cage or Morton Feldman recordings would do. Included in the package is an attractively designed 66-page paperback book with vintage photos, posters and sketches along with essays discussing the background of the sessions, the musicians’ experiences and the New York scene. MORE

July 8, 2010

Jameel Moondoc

Muntu Recordings
No Business Records NBCD 7-8-9

By Ken Waxman

Made up of then-young improvisers who would become better known, Muntu could be described as one of the supergroups of New York’s so-called Loft Era; if the self-aggrandizing term wasn’t antithetical to free music. This handsomely packaged set collects three CDs of the band in different configurations plus a 115-page soft-cover book with a Muntu sessionography and essays on the band, the Black Arts Movement and the Loft Era. Of course this would be mere pretty packaging if the sounds didn’t live up to the hype. Careful listening reveals that Muntu began well and only improved. Only its members’ other projects forced it to dissolve. MORE

December 4, 2007

Steve Swell’s Fire Into Music

Swimming in a Galaxy of Goodwill and Sorrow
Rogue Art ROG-0009

Showcasing four major players operating at the top of their game, this nearly 73- minute CD is a pulsating and passionate essay on top-flight composition and improvisation that stays fully in the present while subtly referencing the past. Most pieces feature expected call-and-response from the horns, and the heads are nearly always recapped.

With his ability to articulate J. J. Johnson-style runs as effortlessly as he finesses Classic Jazz inflected tremolo slurs, trombonist Steve Swell, who wrote two-thirds of the tracks, builds many of them on the contrapuntal contrast between his solid timbres and the astringent trills of veteran alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc. As their intertwined output explores the spectrum of extended techniques, the tunes’ fundamental rhythmic shape is maintained by bassist William Parker. With that function solidified, drummer Hamid Drake – who may, along with the bassist, be the most recorded advanced jazz player of this century – pops and ruffs his drums, whacks wood blocks and generally elasticizes the beat. MORE

May 31, 2004


Delmark DG-547

CIMP #288

Tom Abbs and Chad Taylor: remember those names. One day they may be as familiar as Paul Chambers and Philly Joe Jones or perhaps Charlie Haden and Ed Blackwell. For the two young Western-born musicians, who play on both these CDs and lead one each, are prime examples of ascendant thirty-something players who have rejected the false promises of the neo-cons to create their own sounds. Not strident, their compositions and performances, like those created by Chicago’s Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), swing, but also includes the sort of technical and rhythmic advances that didn’t exist in the neo-con favored 1950-1960 period. MORE

June 16, 2003


Live from the Vision Festival
Thirsty Ear THI 57131.2

The next best thing to being there, this combination CD and DVD package offers a distillation of some of the outstanding performances from last year’s Vision Festival in New York’s Lower East Side. Lacking the name recognition of Newport, Montreux, or any other capitalist entity-associated international star festival, in its less than 10 year existence, Vision has still promulgated a unique artistic vision.

Built around the vision of bassist William Parker, it’s a place where pioneering avant gardists from the 1960s mix it up with younger players who are carrying on experimental ideals. It’s cross-cultural, national and international as well, with the musicians showcased on this session arriving from Germany, Korea, Philadelphia, Chicago, Boston, Minneapolis, Valencia, Calif., New Orleans… and Brooklyn, MORE

June 3, 2003


Live in Paris
Cadence Jazz Records CJR 1151

JAMEEL MOONDOC TENTET Live at the Vision Festival
Ayler aylCD-047

One of the most recognizable members of New York’s third generation Free Jazz players from the early 1970s to the mid-1980s, alto saxophonist Jameel Moondoc, along with associates like bassist William Parker and trumpeter Roy Campbell, was everywhere during that epoch, usually leading his own band.

Like other non-commercial players though, he seemed to vanish -- some said into architecture -- shortly afterwards. But he’s been front-and-centre and recording again since the mid-1990s. These two live CDs, made up of his composition and arrangements, show that he still surrounds himself with notable sidemen and plays firmly in the Free Jazz tradition. They also may offer hints for his hiatus. MORE

September 23, 2002


WILLIAM PARKER … And William Danced
AYLER aylCD-044

Live at Glenn Miller Café Vol. 1
AYLER aylCD-026

True, exceptional, improvised music depends on particular circumstances to be actualized. Mood, time, location and acquaintance are capable of altering the equation to such an extent that two sessions recorded hours apart can be vastly different.

That’s what happened with these two CDs, both of which feature bassist William Parker and drummer Hamid Drake. LIVE was recorded one night at Stockholm’s Glenn Miller Café by the two, plus their regular playing partners, alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc. The result is a representative hour of high class, New York-based free improv sound. Earlier that day Parker and Drake, met and played for the first time with veteran Swedish alto saxophonist Anders Gahnold, who isn’t even that well known in his homeland. Touchingly, the ensuing studio-recorded 66 minutes, offers up a slice of free improv at its finest. MORE