Moondog [CBS] Moondog Primary Artist
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Moondog's second self-titled album (the first one came out in 1956 on the independent jazz label Prestige) was the idiosyncratic composer's first release in 12 years, and it shows how much {|Moondog|}'s already rich music had matured since 1957's The Story of Moondog. Where Moondog's '50s records were jazz-based, Moondog showcases the composer's orchestral side; producer {|James William Guercio|} assembled an orchestra of over 40 musicians from the classical and jazz worlds (including flutist {|Hubert Laws|} and bassist {|Ron Carter|}), and although the pieces are quite compact -- ranging from the expansive three-part ballet suite Witch of Endor to the eight-second spoken poem Cuplet -- Moondog uses the expanded range of tonal colors and dynamics impressively. For someone who spent most of his career performing solo on a street corner in Manhattan, Moondog's arrangements on pieces like the jazz-canon's Stamping Ground are not only admirably complex, but also richly melodic. Although Moondog is often thought of as a mere exotica novelty, thanks to the composer's eccentricities, it is, in fact, one of the finest third stream jazz albums of its era. The best-known track on this album, Bird's Lament, was the uncredited basis for dance DJ {|Mr. Scruff|}'s Get a Move On, which was used in an extended series of minivan commercials in 2002. [Moondog was re-released on LP in 2017, adding six bonus tracks.]

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