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.

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Music Reviews
2:03 pm
Tue October 30, 2012

Neil Young Still Vital On 'Psychedelic Pill'

Crazy Horse doesn't just redeem Neil Young's mawkish moments — it transforms them. From left, Ralph Molina, Poncho Sampedro, Neil Young and Billy Talbot are Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
Julie Gardner Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Wed October 31, 2012 12:51 pm

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Music Reviews
3:13 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 7:12 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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Music Reviews
4:27 pm
Wed August 8, 2012

Lianne La Havas: A Cool Antidote For Late Summer's Heat

Lianne La Havas' debut album is titled Is Your Love Big Enough?
Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Mon November 5, 2012 9:24 am

It's gotten to that point in the dog days of August where the air is stale and nothing seems to be moving. But sometimes all it takes to snap me out of a late-summer heat coma is the sound of a new and electrifying voice — like that of Lianne La Havas.

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Music Reviews
4:10 pm
Mon June 25, 2012

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

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

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

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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Music Reviews
4:01 pm
Thu May 31, 2012

Melody Gardot Aims For The Space Between Notes

Melody Gardot takes an understated approach to Brazilian music on her new album, The Absence.
Fabrizio Ferri

Originally published on Sat June 9, 2012 12:39 pm

The other day, I had a conversation with Melody Gardot about space. Not outer space, but the space between notes in her music. These days, there's lots of it.

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Music Reviews
3:10 pm
Tue April 3, 2012

Dr. John: Swamp Grooves From The Bayou Underworld

Dan Auerbach (left) joins Dr. John on the latter's new album, Locked Down.
Alysse Gafkjen

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 10:41 am

Right now, Dan Auerbach is living a rock-star moment, with his hard-hitting blues-rock duo The Black Keys selling out arenas all over the country. Lots of people want him on their records. So what does he do? He seeks out the 71-year-old Dr.

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Music Reviews
5:16 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Review: Two New Perspectives On Jazz, Gospel

Critic Tom Moon reviews two contrasting perspectives on the intersection of jazz and gospel music. Multi-instrumentalist Don Byron has just released "Love, Peace and Soul" featuring his New Gospel Quintet. Also out is a set of duets between the late pianist Hank Jones and bassist Charlie Haden, titled "Come Sunday." Moon says the two projects reimagine old-time religious tunes in surprisingly different ways.

CD Reviews
4:04 pm
Tue February 28, 2012

Heartless Bastards: Rousing Songs, Born On The Road

Heartless Bastards' fourth album, Arrow, was released earlier this month.
Nathan Presley

Originally published on Thu March 1, 2012 3:00 pm

It's true that you can still get by in rock 'n' roll on the strength of a unique voice. But it helps if said voice has something interesting to work with.

On the first three records by Heartless Bastards, that wasn't always the case. The Mountain, from 2008, had some terrific songs about a breakup, and a few that got bogged down in a rut. But on the band's latest release, Arrow, every song has a powerful, almost magnetic melody.

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Music Reviews
4:09 pm
Tue February 14, 2012

Dr. Dog: A Standout Among Stereotypes

Dr. Dog's sixth studio album is titled Be the Void.
Chris Crisman

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 6:16 pm

Sometimes I wonder: Do the members of young indie-rock bands know that they're walking stereotypes? There's the scruffy dude who's obsessed with everything vintage and analog, the Pavement-worshiping, whiny-voiced lead singer, the rhythm section that knows its way around every oddity recorded by The Kinks. That's pretty much how I pegged the Philadelphia sextet Dr.

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Music
3:36 pm
Tue December 6, 2011

The Roots: A Song Cycle For A Life Cycle

The Roots' 10th studio album, undun, is a concept record chronicling the downfall of its narrator.
Courtesy of the artist

The hip-hop band The Roots might currently be the hardest-working band in show business. Five nights a week, it's the house band on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, and is constantly collaborating with other artists. And this week, the band issued its 10th studio album.

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