JEMEEL MOONDOC The Zookeeper's House

Album · 2014 · Avant-Garde Jazz
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4.5/5 ·
Jemeel Moondoc is an excellent sax player who at early stage was a member of Cecil Taylor band for two years (in early 70s). Later he moved to New York and formed his first band Muntu (with trumpeter Roy Campbell, bassist William Parker, and drummer Charles Downs (known as Rashid Bakr) becoming a part of city's loft scene.

Later he played sporadically with different rhythm sections and released series of strong albums on Eremite Records in 90s.

On "The Zookeeper’s House",Moondoc's first studio album in more than ten years and only fifth studio recording ever released,Jemeel plays with excellent team of musicians: his current rhythm sections of bassist Hilliard Greene and drummer Newman Taylor Baker is improved with trombonist Steve Swell, trumpeter Roy Campbell (it is his final recorded music)and pianist Matthew Shipp.Moondoc who from very early years played bop-based free jazz on his newest work does it even better then before. "The Zookeeper’s House" is that extremely rare case when 70s loft scene artist not only reaches the heights of his music from that period, but even exceeds it.

Not all musicians play here on all songs - Matthew Shipp adds piano on opener and longish "One For Monk And Trane",horns play on "Little Blue Elvira" and almost eleven minutes long Alice Coltrane's "Ptah, The El Daoud". All five album's compositions are free-bop of highest probe, soulful,sometimes bluesy,tuneful,free and well-framed. There are no fillers here and by emotional atmosphere and musical quality this album fits better on list of the best releases coming from adventurous early 70s than from second decade of new century.

Surprisingly, music on this album doesn't sound nostalgic at all. Even well-known Alice Coltrane's tune gets new life, Moondoc originals all are modern and mature offspring of Eric Dolphy's early 60s' free-bop.

One among best albums coming from last decade, there are only a very few such works around.
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