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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.

  • It's not easy to see that history is being made when it's happening right in front of you — just ask the critics tasked with assessing these classic, ahead-of-their-time recordings.
  • The 1960s rock icon, who was also an accomplished jazz musician and performed with Fela Kuti, died Sunday morning.
  • On the 50th anniversary of the band's landmark album Green River, we dig into how the band formulated its singular sound, its legacy and how Creedence's music still resonates today.
  • Given the proliferation of year-end Top 10 lists, it seems natural that Shadow Classics — which gives shelter to under-appreciated music — would feature its own list of 2006 recordings likely to become Shadow Classics down the line. Don't let these gems go unnoticed.
  • A beguiling and visionary blend of reggae, soul and pop, Jackie Mittoo's Wishbone didn't connect commercially upon its release. Now, more than 30 years and countless stylistic hybrids later, the disc sounds like pure genius — one of the boldest and most cohesive expansions of Jamaican pop ever recorded.
  • Billy Nicholls' Would You Believe is so steeped in the florid sounds of the late '60s, and so guileless in its celebration of those sounds, it almost feels like a hoax — the work of a crafty modern student who's painstakingly re-created every detail, right down to the hard-hitting mono mixes.
  • Vaughan was, arguably, the foremost interpreter of Brazilian music in jazz history. Recorded three years before she died, Brazilian Romance is her equivalent of Johnny Cash's American Recordings — full of contemporary spirit, propelled by a timeless voice.
  • It's stupefying that Karen Dalton remains, even in this crate-digging age, largely unknown: She was a singer of transfixing nuance and uncommon emotional control. If her debut album appeared new today, Dalton could have easily become a phenomenon of at least Madeline Peyroux proportions.
  • Many contemporary listeners know Ry Cooder as the producer and guitarist behind Buena Vista Social Club, the 1997 project that revived the careers of long-forgotten Cuban ballad singers. Lost among his early works is an eclectic little under-loved gem: Boomer's Story.
  • In 1998, Argentine singer and songwriter Juana Molina walked away from a TV-acting career to explore music. She's toured constantly, opening for David Byrne and others. Her new, eerily beautiful CD is titled Son.