Thursday, December 09, 2010

RIP James Moody 1925-2010

091607 We Love Dizzy -1651, originally uploaded by NoVARon.
Just heard that James Moody passed away on December 9, 2010 from pancreatic cancer. Moody, seen here as part of the Dizzy Gillespie All Star Band at the 2007 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival in Washington DC. In 1998, he was selected a a National Endowment of the Arts Jazz Master and was last nominated for a Grammy in 2009.

Veteran critic Howard Mandel has written on his blog, Jazz Beyond Jazz about Moody, "A brilliant improviser who emerged from Dizzy Gillespie's big band to join the young turks of bebop (Monk, Bags, Klook, Blakey) in the late 1940s, he became internationally admired for his tenor sax and flute mastery and on-stage good cheer …"

Here are some other links on James Moody:

Jazzwise Magazine obituary. "Moody had the cool demeanour of jazzmen of his generation who oozed effortless control on the bandstand of the best jazz clubs they found themselves performing in. Moody brought a strong personality to the saxophone and when he took the microphone to sing as well it all added to a direct connection with the listener that few could hope to achieve."

NY Times obituary  "James Moody, a jazz saxophonist and flutist celebrated for his virtuosity, his versatility and his onstage ebullience …"

San Diego Union-Tribune obituary by George Varga quotes Quincy Jones:

“He was the quintessential saxophone player, and his 'Moody’s Mood For Love' will forever be remembered in jazz history side by side with Coleman Hawkins’ classic 'Body and Soul.'
James Moody was one of the people who allowed me to stand on his shoulders when I was coming up. And there can never be a value placed on that. So much of who I am today, is because of who James Moody was to me back then."

To this I want to add a quote from Mr. Moody himself from Mr. Varga's story. 

"My goal is that I want to play better tomorrow than I did today, because I’m not in competition with anyone else,” Mr. Moody noted in a 2005 Union-Tribune interview.”If you try to do that, to compete, you’d better give up, because there’s always somebody, somewhere, who has more going on. And that’s what makes jazz so beautiful, that’s what makes the world beautiful.” (italics added).

Marc Copeland quoted in JazzTimes obituary: "My personal homage to Moody is this: Every time I play, every time I travel, I hope to play with the same spirit that he does and hope to treat other musicians with the same kindness and respect that he does."

NPR's Blog Supreme. Patrick Jarenwattananon writes, "Jazz saxophonist and flutist James Moody has died. A virtuoso player known for his effusive warmth on and off stage, Moody's career in music stretched well over 60 years. He was 85."

NPR's Fresh Air Remembers James Moody. Moody quoted on remembering Dizzy Gillespie,

"For the longest time, I used to call my wife — I used to call Linda, my honey, and tell her, 'Honey, I called you and you weren't home.' You know?  She says, 'Honey, I've been home all day.' I said, 'Well, but I called' — and then I'd say the number.  And she'd say, 'Honey, that's Dizzy's number.' "

Riotsquad Publicity obituary found at The Jazz Breakfast. "“Playing with Moody is like playing with a continuation of myself,” Gillespie once said. Moody later responded, “I felt the same way with him. He was my mentor, my teacher, my best friend, and my brother."

"In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to:
CFNJ/ James Moody Jazz Scholarship Fund for Newark Youth
Post Office Box 338
Morristown, New Jersey 07963-0338"

Andrea Canter at All About Jazz: "His personal charm was only exceeded by his artistry on saxophones and flute"

The Jazz Police has a fuller obituary by Andrea Canter.

Jazz photographer Juan Carlos Hernandez's photo tribute to Moody with some you tube links.

Elements of Jazz posted seven Moody videos on November 27 as part of her series of posts, Seven For Saturday.

WBGO on Moody notes they will be rebroadcasting the Kennedy Center's 80th Birthday Party for Moody on December 19 and December 22. 

Washington Post obituary by Matt Schudel from which we "Of all his musical partnerships, Mr. Moody was best known for his chemistry with Gillespie, who once said, 'Playing with Moody is like playing with a continuation of myself.'"

Prior to publishing a full obituary, the Washington Post had a brief obituary on its webpage with comments that are worth perusing. I like this one by Dave Statter, "Thank you Matt Schudel. James Moody was one of my favorite musicians of all time. Along with his immense musical talent was a sense of humor that seemed to be a part of everything he did. I think of one wonderful night at One Step Down where he took me by the arm in the middle of another musician's solo pretending to be the maitre d and escorted me to my booth near the bandstand."

Marc Myers remembered Moody on his JazzWax blog.  "What set Moody apart from the crowd of exceptional saxophonists in the late 1940s was his fluid swing, voluptuous tone and crafty lyricism. A solo by Moody typically was seamless, sophisticated and staggeringly melodic."  Myers blog entry also includes his ten favorite Moody tracks (Odd that all but one is from 1961 or earlier).

Bob Margolin, while touring Europe with Muddy Waters, encountered James Moody.

"I told him I was in Muddy's band and Mr. Moody, a gentle man and a gentleman, asked me who wrote our charts. I explained to him that neither Muddy nor the band read music or had set arrangements of songs. We just played Blues in the moment following Muddy's guitar and his cues for solos. Mr. Moody was astounded."

Here is a WGBH Boston jazz programmer, Steve Schwartz's playlist of music featuring James Moody.

Quotes from twitter on James Moody:

John Brook: "Jazz legend James Moody died today of pancreatic cancer. Over 50 years of music to explore, incredible work to explore. He was 85. r.i.p."

Terence Blanchard: " R.I.P. James Moody......You have blessed us all with your incredible musical talent and you will truly be missed....
Finally, the wonderful singer Roberta Gambarini dedicated her performances Friday December 3 at the Kennedy Center to her dear friend and mentor James Moody, with whom she was originally scheduled to perform.  Seen is Clark Terry, Roberta Gambarini and James Moody singing at the 2007 Duke Ellington Jazz Festival.

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