Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Jemeel Moondoc - Nostalgia in Times Square (Soul Note, 1986)

Alto saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, an open thinking veteran of the 1970's jazz loft scene, cut this forward thinking, yet swinging album for the Italian Soul Note label in 1985. Joining him were a powerful crew of William Parker on bass, Dennis Charles on drums, Rahn Burton on piano and Bern Nix on guitar. Despite just being a quintet, the group was able to achieve a much bigger sound than their size indicated, allowing them to perform a beautiful version of the Charles Mingus composition “Nostalgia in Times Square” which loses nothing of the lushness and longing of the Mingus original. “In Walked Monk” is another tribute to one of the masters of jazz, with the group playing wide open for fifteen minutes, the group riffing off of the Thelonious Monk tribute to Bud Powell (wheels within wheels) and spinning off for some dazzling solos. “Flora” is the album’s lone ballad, a poignant performance that has Moondoc switching to soprano saxophone and playing it well with elegant piano and guitar in accompaniment. This was a very enjoyable album, reminiscent of the music that was made by Charles Mingus last great working band with Don Pullen and George Adams. It’s well worth revisiting the Black Saint and Soul Note catalogs for overlooked gems like this, especially since Amazon.com has mp3 versions of those albums priced to sell. Nostalgia In Times Square - amazon.com

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