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.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released.


Before he began the tour that's documented on the 36-disc set The 1966 Live Recordings, Bob Dylan was on record as being ambivalent about the road.

In 1963, Duke Ellington and his orchestra participated in a State Department "jazz diplomacy" tour of the Middle East. Inspired by the experience, Ellington and composer Billy Strayhorn wrote a collection of songs called The Far East Suite.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

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Norah Jones has returned to jazz in her new album.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "DAY BREAKS")

NORAH JONES: (Singing) Day breaks in your head and you're finally alone.

Every so often, you run across a collection that opens up an entirely new way to think about an artist. Jack White's new, 26-track retrospective, which focuses on his unplugged, less raucous songs, does just that. The unreleased songs, album tracks and B-sides that make up Jack White Acoustic Recordings, 1998-2016 offer a fresh window onto the work of the creative, prolific rock musician.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.

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Nels Cline from Wilco plays epic guitar solos.

(SOUNDBITE OF WILCO SONG, "IMPOSSIBLE GERMANY")

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Young YouTube phenomenon - it's a phrase we hear a lot. But when it comes to Jacob Collier, it's kind of true.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "IN MY ROOM")

JACOB COLLIER: (Singing) There's a world where I can go to tell my secrets to in my room, in my room.

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Gregory Porter is a jazz singer who is pushing the boundaries of jazz singing. In the last few years, he's recorded with bluesman Buddy Guy, classic singer Renee Fleming and, most recently, with the U.K. electronic duo Disclosure.

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Radiohead has created "A Moon Shaped Pool."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "FUL STOP")

THOM YORKE: (Singing) All the good times, all the good times...

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Sometimes there's beauty in simplicity. That's how music reviewer Tom Moon feels about a new record by a pair of Brazilian music legends. It's titled, in English, "Two Friends, One Century Of Music."

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New York bassist Matt Geraghty and Brazilian saxophonist Ze Luis spent 21 days in Cuba with a mission, to capture an unscripted collaboration with different musicians each day. Here's what happened on day three.

Note: NPR's First Listen audio comes down after the album is released. However, you can still listen with the Spotify playlist at the bottom of the page.


Two albums into the most unlikely soul career of the millennium, Charles Bradley has neatly pivoted away from the hard-luck life story told in the documentary Soul of America, and toward a comparatively ordinary task: Creating a book of believable songs that showcase his unique vocal style.

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Here's a music collaboration you might not expect.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "JESUS LAY DOWN BESIDE ME")

MAVIS STAPLES: (Singing) Jesus, lay down beside me. Lay down and rest your troubled mind.

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