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James Moody

Saxophonist and flutist, James Moody is considered one of the fathers of Bebop. He is particularly known for his recordings with Dizzy Gillespie and for his hit Moody's Mood for Love

Born in Savannah, Georgia in 1925 and raised in Newark, New Jersey, James Moody took up the alto saxophone at the age of 16. He later switched to tenor saxophone after hearing Buddy Tate and Don Byas perform with the Count Basie Band.

In 1946, Moody joined Dizzy Gillespie's bebop big band, alongside Milt Jackson, Kenny Clarke, Ray Brown, Thelonious Monk. He quickly acquired worldwide fame, notably with his legendary solo on Emanon.

In 1949, he moved to Europe where he recorded the improvisational masterpiece Moody's Mood for Love. The song was successfully covered 3 years later by the singer King Pleasure (lyrics written by Eddie Jefferson). Moody played at this time with other jazz giants such as Miles Davis, Tadd Dameron, Kenny Clarke and Max Roach.

Upon his return to the United States in 1951, he led his own band and recorded several albums in which he alternated between tenor saxophone, alto and flute. He was a member of Dizzy Gillespie's quintet from 1963 to 1969, then moved to Las Vegas where he performed with the Las Vegas Hilton Orchestra until the late 1970s. Back on the East Coast, he formed a new group and played occasionally with Gillespie.

James Moody died in 2010 of cancer. He recorded more than 60 albums on numerous labels, including Blue Note and Prestige, and was nominated for four Grammy awards.

Photo Credit : Herman Leonard

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