About Tom Moon

For the last three and a half years, award-winning music journalist Tom Moon has been searching out peak musical experiences from all genres and every corner of the earth. 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die, published by Workman Publishing in August 2008, is the result of his journey. Covering both acknowledged world-culture masterworks (J.S. Bach's Goldberg Variations) and recordings that have been unfairly overlooked (Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left), the book is designed to encourage listeners to become explorers.

Its essays are arranged alphabetically, not by genre. Each entry contains suggestions for further listening within an artist's catalog, as well as recommendations for similar or related recordings. In the back of the book are indexes that break out recordings by genre, and special "occasion" indexes containing playlist suggestions for various moods.

The goal, Moon writes in the introduction, is to spark curiosity about music —all forms of music. "There's great treasure waiting on the other side of wherever you draw your territorial lines."

1000 Recordings draws on Moon's experience as a music critic and musician. A saxophonist, he began playing professionally while studying at the University of Miami's School of Music (he graduated in 1983). He played in Latin bands, circuses, and in pit orchestras supporting Tony Bennett, the Fifth Dimension and many others. He worked as a musician on various South Florida-based cruise ships including the SS Norway, and spent most of a year touring the U.S. and Canada as part of Maynard Ferguson's big band.

Moon became interested in journalism after contributing occasional freelance pieces to the Miami Herald. He was hired as a music critic there in 1986, and moved to the Philadelphia Inquirer two years later. He worked at the Inquirer until 2005; during that time, he contributed reviews and feature stories to GQ, Rolling Stone, Spin, Vibe, Esquire, Harp, Musician, the World Cafe with David Dye and National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

Moon is a two-time winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Music Journalism award. In 1994, he was selected as one of 12 inaugural fellows in the National Arts Journalism Program, and spent a year studying at Columbia University. In 2001, the Philadelphia chapter of the Recording Academy recognized Moon with its "Heroes" award.

In the course of his journalism career, Moon has interviewed hundreds of recording artists, among them Miles Davis, Keith Richards, Beck, John Adams, Sonny Rollins, Madonna, Frank Zappa, Bruce Springsteen, Tom Waits, Ry Cooder, Ibrahim Ferrer and Caetano Veloso. During those conversations, he would ask the artists for recommendations of music they considered "essential." Those recommendations are an important part of 1000 Recordings To Hear Before You Die.

Moon lives with his wife, daughter, two dogs and an attic full of music outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

You can reach him at tom@1000recordings.com.

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