Spirit House (album)

Spirit House is an album by American jazz saxophonist Jemeel Moondoc, which was recorded live in 2000 at the Magic Triangle Jazz Series organized by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and released on the Eremite label.[1] It was the debut recording by the Jus Grew Orchestra, a large ensemble founded by Moondoc in the early 80s. For this concert Moondoc studied Butch Morris's conduction techniques of guided improvisation with hand gestures. Morris was the original conductor of the band.[2]

Spirit House
Spirit house cover.jpeg
Live album by
RecordedMarch 30, 2000
VenueUMASS, Amherst, Massachusetts
ProducerMichael Ehlers
Jemeel Moondoc chronology
New World Pygmies
Spirit House
Revolt of the Negro Lawn Jockeys


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [3]
The Penguin Guide to Jazz    [4]

In his review for AllMusic, Steve Loewy states "Some listeners may be reminded of some of Henry Threadgill's non-electric, early group efforts, which combined quirky melodies with non-swinging bursts of flaming brass. Moondoc translates the concept to a larger structure, with his own individual stamp and raucous ensemble writing."[3]

The Penguin Guide to Jazz notes that the live sound is inadequate, but says "This is a bustling, often teeming music, brought vividly to life and, given a full and flattering sound, the tremendous blow-out of 'Spirit House' itself would really shake the timbers."[4]

In a double review for JazzTimes, Daniel Piotrowski also remarks the deficient sound mix, but states "The band is handed great compositions and make the most of them by changing speeds adeptly, without making the music seem too hectic. The 26-minute title track is an excellent example of the agile band, which joins together for brief interludes and then passes the baton from soloist to soloist."[5]

Track listingEdit

All compositions by Jemeel Moondoc
  1. "Quick Pick" - 10:47
  2. "Brass Monkeys" - 9:08
  3. "Flora" - 14:54
  4. "Spirit House" - 26:32
  5. "End Game" - 3:17
  6. "In Walked Monk" - 9:14



  1. ^ Spirit House at Eremite
  2. ^ Interview: Jemeel Moondoc at Burning Ambulance
  3. ^ a b Loewy, Steve. Jemeel Moondoc – Spirit House: Review at AllMusic. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
  4. ^ a b Cook, Richard; Brian Morton (2004). The Penguin Guide to Jazz on CD. The Penguin Guide to Jazz (7th ed.). London: Penguin. pp. 1161. ISBN 0141014164.
  5. ^ Piotrowski, Daniel. Spirit House review at JazzTimes