Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Dustin Laurenzi: Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
Many genius artists have been labeled as freaks or lunatics because they didn't conform to the standards of civil society, let alone the codes of behavior for musicians. Thelonious Monk, Rahsaan Roland Kirk and Sun Ra are obvious examples of brilliant creators whose music endures and is celebrated. Add to that list Louis Thomas Hardin (1916-1999) aka Moondog. The blind composer-musician could often be found on 6th Avenue in New York dressed as a Viking, selling his music and poetry. His music was difficult to pigeonhole. It was minimalist, modal, orchestral, jazz, found sound and, you get it, ubiquitous. He favored contrapuntal arrangements, and that is where Chicago saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi picks up the trail with Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog.

Laurenzi leads the quartet Natural Language, contributes to the trio Twin Talk, as well as performing with the indie folk band Bon Iver. His tenor saxophone is seemingly always the quiet voice (of reason) on the bandstand. With this exploration of Moondog's music he brings his rational approach, playing and skilled arrangements to these seven covers. Recorded live in 2018, this project is realized with a current Who's Who of Chicago improvisers.

Opening with "Nero's Expedition," bass clarinetist Jason Stein carries the melody over the percussion cavalcade of Quin Kirchner and Ryan Packard. The ensemble joins, layering the quirky melody as if braiding a lengthy carpet. Laurenzi takes great care to preserve the integrity of Moondog's compositions. You may have heard "Lament 1 (Bird's Lament)," written for Charlie Parker; a few years ago, it was played on an almost continuous loop as an automobile commercial. It may be the perfect example of Moondog's contrapuntal sound, with Laurenzi, alto saxophonist Nick Mazzarella and trumpeter Chad McCullough crossing the melodic lines over the infectious percussive attack. Moondog favored Native American rhythms, which he heard as a youngster in Kansas at the feet of Arapaho Chief Yellow Calf. Those sounds can be heard on "All Is Loneliness" and "Remember." Laurenzi's arrangements untangle the complex, making the music very simple, yet very demanding at the same time. The disc ends with an open-ended interpretation of "Lullaby," with Stein's bass clarinet squawking over Dave Miller's pinging guitar and the orchestral tidal flow of the other bandmates. This feels like a fitting end to this most excellent tribute.

Track Listing: Nero’s Expedition; Lament 1 (Bird's Lament); Remember; Fiesta Piano Solo; Down Is Up; All Is Loneliness; Lullaby.

Personnel: Chad McCullough: trumpet; Nick Mazzarella: alto saxophone; Dustin Laurenzi: tenor saxophone; Jason Stein: bass clarinet; Dave Miller: guitar; Matt Ulery: bass; Quin Kirchner: drums, percussion; Ryan Packard: drums, percussion.

Title: Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog | Year Released: 2019 | Record Label: Astral Spirits


comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Big Talk

Big Talk

Dustin Laurenzi
Natural Language

Album Reviews
Read more articles
Snaketime: The Music Of Moondog

Snaketime: The Music...

Astral Spirits

Natural Language

Natural Language

ears&eyes Records


Related Articles

Read Nexus Album Reviews
By Jakob Baekgaard
May 23, 2019
Read The Second Coming Album Reviews
The Second Coming
By Daniel Barbiero
May 23, 2019
Read Luminária Album Reviews
By John Sharpe
May 23, 2019
Read Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band Album Reviews
Jazz Band/Rock Band/Dance Band
By Jerome Wilson
May 23, 2019
Read When Will The Blues Leave Album Reviews
When Will The Blues Leave
By Karl Ackermann
May 22, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Dan Bilawsky
May 22, 2019
Read Infinite Itinerant Album Reviews
Infinite Itinerant
By Geno Thackara
May 22, 2019