The person: An imposing figure dressed like a Viking standing on a New York streetcorner playing hand drums, singing, and selling books of poetry. Born Louis Hardin in 1916, he spent his early years with missionary parents among Native American tribes, absorbing their music. Blinded as a teenager, he learned piano tuning in blind school, then moved to New York, where he adopted his new persona.
The music: Jazzy, percussive, and driven by strict rules. Moondog (Columbia) collects '60s recordings, '98's Sax Pax For A Sax (Atlantic) is representative of later work.
Where is he now? Moved to Germany in 1974 after a concert of his work there, and finally settled in Munster, where he continued to compose. Died September 22, 1999.