His career may have begun with Cecil Taylor, but it’s Ornette Coleman’s picture that Jemeel Moondoc probably keeps framed on his desk at work. You can hear it from the outset as he plays and as his compositions unfold in the style of Atlantic-period Coleman on Live in Paris (Cadence). Still, Moondoc leaves plenty of room for, well, Moondoc in there. The saxophonist tempers a Coleman-like astringency with an earthiness and a touch of sweetness. The latter quality comes out when Moondoc allows himself to improvise melodically, a hidden strength that helps him sustain a fine solo on the concert’s high mark, “Not Quite Ready for Prime Time.”
Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.