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Editorial Reviews: Moondog (Original Jazz Classics)

Louis Hardin, known to pre-Watergate New Yorkers as the blind street musician Moondog, is also a fascinating and sui generis composer. This disc collects 1969 recordings of his orchestral works and 1972 small-group recordings of the two-minutes-and-under "rounds and canons" that are his most influential work. Janis Joplin covered his "All Is Loneliness," you can hear foreshadowings of Stereolab in his "Madrigals," and you only need to hear "Theme" to hear how profoundly he influenced Michael Nyman. Simple and beautiful, Moondog's rounds owe as much to the swing he heard on the radio in his youth as to Bach's canonical structures, and they vary as little and as much as roses in a row.

Douglas Wolk