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Album Review

Jazz masters like James Moody have unjustly gone for several years at a time in the first decade of the 21st century without being recorded, not because they are over the hill or have nothing new to say, but due to the shortsightedness of many record labels. Fortunately, the veteran tenor saxophonist has found a home with IPO, which records him in settings with top-flight musicians in programs of his liking. For his second CD on the label, he's joined by pianist Kenny Barron (a consummate accompanist for any jazz artist), bassist Todd Coolman, and drummer Lewis Nash (the latter two both seasoned artists and bandleaders in their own right). The set list is filled with standards that have likely been part of Moody's repertoire for ages, with the possible exception of Barron's enticing post-bop vehicle "Voyage," which seems to appeal to everyone who works with the pianist and quite a few artists who haven't yet had the opportunity. Moody takes it at a more gradual pace than typical for most recordings, though his soulful tenor is filled with acrobatics at times. Moody's tenor is suitably lush in the slightly frisky treatment of "'Round Midnight," with Barron fueling the leader with beautiful backgrounds and Nash switching briefly to mallets when he takes the spotlight. "East of the Sun" is a gorgeous duet with Barron, played with just a touch of melancholy. The playful waltz setting of "Bye Bye Blackbird" is the perfect closing number to yet another outstanding date led by James Moody.


Born: March 26, 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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Moody 4A, James Moody
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