b. 5 August 1951, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Despite being a creative musician from Chicago, saxophonist Moondoc was never involved with the AACM - by the time he was looking for people with whom to play in the late 60s, Anthony Braxton, Leroy Jenkins and the Art Ensemble Of Chicago had left for Paris and New York. Turning down a career as an architect in the early 70s he studied music with Ran Blake in Boston, where he also played in the James Tatum Blues Band, and then followed Cecil Taylor to Wisconsin University and Antioch College, playing alto and soprano saxophones in Taylor’s student orchestras. He moved to New York in 1972, where he met and played with avant garde luminaries such as bass player William Parker and trumpeter Roy Campbell, and also formed his Ensemble Munta, which lasted for nearly 10 years. In 1981 he toured Poland and recorded The Intrepid for the Poljazz label.
In 1984 he formed the Jus Grew Orchestra, a wild 15-piece that had a residency at the Neither/Nor club on the Lower East Side. He says, ‘I try to speak through the horn - it’s something I learned from Jimmy Lyons and Ornette Coleman’, and he often plays deliberately sharp, like a free version of Jackie McLean. Moondoc’s approach, which combines the looseness of bar-room blues with post-Coleman multi-key valency, found a willing accomplice in guitarist Bern Nix from Coleman’s harmolodic outfit Prime Time. Their band - with Parker on bass and Dennis Charles on drums - provided a tipsy, dislocated jazz that was excellently captured on Nostalgia In Times Square. Moondoc remains a strikingly individual musical mind in a jazz scene too often willing to conform to the standards of the past.