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Fly Me To The Moon

James Moody

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Album Review

Fly Me to the Moon compiles a pair of tenor saxophonist James Moody's mid-'60s sessions for the Argo label. The 1962 date Another Bag vaults Moody far past his bop roots. Another in a series of collaborations with arranger and composer Tom McIntosh, its rich, deep sound is both fiercely cerebral and nakedly emotional. Paired with a superb group including pianist Kenny Barron, trumpeter Paul Serrano, trombonist John Avant, bassist Ernest Outlaw and drummer Marshall Thompson, Moody creates a thoughtful interpretation of the emerging soul-jazz idiom that is both consciously hip yet surprisingly introspective; the music is both angular and accessible, bolstered by a clutch of clever, dynamic McIntosh melodies. Issued two years later, Comin' on Strong ranks among Moody's most challenging and rewarding sessions. With its complex rhythms and mercurial tempos, the material is more like a series of obstacle courses than a collection of melodies, but Moody and his collaborators navigate the twists and turns with dexterity and grace. Paired with Barron on piano as well as George Eskridge on guitar, Chris White on bass and Rudy Collins on drums, Moody reinvents standards like "I've Grown Accustomed to Your Face" and "Autumn Leaves," infusing their familiar strains with ideas drawn from post-bop and avant-garde sensibilities. The transformation between these styles is seamless, however, and even the most radical ideas seem perfectly logical.

Biography

Born: 26 March 1925 in Savannah, GA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

James Moody was an institution in jazz from the late '40s into the 21st century, whether on tenor, flute, occasional alto, or yodeling his way through his "Moody's Mood for Love." After serving in the Air Force (1943-1946), he joined Dizzy Gillespie's bebop orchestra and began a lifelong friendship with the trumpeter. Moody toured Europe with Gillespie and then stayed overseas for several years, working with Miles Davis, Max Roach, and top European players. His 1949 recording of "I'm in the Mood...
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Fly Me To The Moon, James Moody
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