An all-inclusive "our": dessert time
Samuel Chell | Kenosha,, WI United States | 06/16/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"We venerate wealth and power but cursorily dismiss art. We would do well to heed the poet Shelley who, in "The Defense of Poetry," calls artists the unacknowledged legislators of the world, the only true lawmakers, the cartographers of the human heart, of all that is beautiful, lasting, immortal: they are the hierophants who take us out of the present moment, revealing past and future while making us aware of what it means to be truly free. They embody James Baldwin's message in "Sonny's Blues," a living mirror to each of us reflecting us to ourselves, revealing the creative potential that is the birthright of every human child. Musicians are poets who speak in a more universal, direct, authentic language: as the poet Robert Browning said, "'Tis musicians who know."
James Moody occupied the same bandstand as all of the other heroic prophets who comprised the company of saints at Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase back in the '70s and '80s: Sonny Stitt, Gene Ammons, Dexter Gordon, Lockjaw Davis, Zoot and Al, Stanley Turrentine, Clifford Jordan--just to name a few. And it was Moody--not Bird, Diz, Bud, Clifford Brown--who recorded an improvised solo on "I'm in the Mood for Love" in Sweden in 1949 that inspired the first of the vocalese transcriptions that would lead to the popularity of King Pleasure, Eddie Jefferson, Lambert Hendricks Ross, Manhattan Transfer.
It was Hank Jones who preceded Oscar Peterson as "house pianist" for Norman Granz on the annual Jazz at the Philharmonic tours and, later, as the favorite accompanist of Ella Fitzgerald. If there were really such a thing as justice, both men would be household words in the country of their birth, commemorated by national holidays, consulted prior to all artistic endeavors, depicted on postage stamps, hired as advisors to the President in national educational initiatives.
To the tiny percentage of the population aware of these living giants, these two afford to us all an opportunity to give thanks for a lifetime well-spent by story-teller and listener alike. Moody is still at the top of his game and would sound better were it not for the incontrovertible fact that, in our culture, he's still required to show that he has something to prove. Hank Jones still has the fingers, the touch, the ear--slowed down by a nano-second in that flood of decisions that the improvising artist must make. The pedal is more in play and the tone, consequently, a bit "muddier" than it was in the past.
As the program shows, these two have decided not to relax in their senior hours, as they tackle the same challenging improvisational vehicles that distinguished their work in their salad days."
Vintage and very satisfactory
Charles Liles | 02/04/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Just exactly what I expected when I ordered this CD. Both Moody and Hank performed up to their respective levels. Happy am I."
Like Fine Wine
Robert G. Rutkas | Chicago, Il. | 08/20/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I admit it. I'm a James Moody fan boy. I have tons of his albums going back to the late 50s. Believe me when I tell you that his fire burns brightly here. Just two notes out of his horn and you instantly recognize Brother Moody.
Please listen to Birk's Works. Amazing!
Listen to James' amazing flute rendition of "Old Folks". One of my all time favorites.
I play sax, and during open jam sessions, a game is played among the improvisers. It is called a "cutting contest". The aim is to out perform everyone else on the stand with your instrumental pyrotechnics. Well Moody carries a might axe here (no pun intended). This guy is fabulous. No one would stand a chance!
Hank Jones is has been putting it together forever. Now in his nineties, he is as formidable as ever. He has been the back bone of many significant small groups through the years. Fluid and melodic, his ability to swing is aptly demonstrated here.
This is an album you really should add to your collection.