A JAMES MOODY SPECTACULAR: 2 CLASSIC ALBUMS + BONUS TRACKS
RBSProds | Deep in the heart of Texas | 03/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Five HUGE Stars! Timeless, essential Moody jazz classics. James Moody is the legendary tenor sax, flute, and alto sax jazz titan, long associated with Dizzy Gillespie's big band and quintet, as well as Mr Moody's own seminal groups. And there is 'vocalese' legend Eddie Jefferson's truly outstanding vocal versions of Moody solos throughout the CD. This long-awaited recording finally puts two classic Moody 1950s recordings on one CD with bonus tracks: the "Hey, Its James Moody" quartet date, the "Flute 'N The Blues" septet date, plus the "Last Train from Overbrook" big band track, a Gil Fuller Workshop piece with Moody and Jefferson, and a bonus version of "I'm In The Mood For Love" featuring Moody and Jefferson. Lone Hill Jazz engineers have digitally remastered everything, elevating the sound of the original Argo and Chess records LPs to a clear, vivid soundscape.
The "best of the best" includes sizzling uptempo quartet versions of "Stella By Starlight" with Moody on tenor sax and a superbly hip quartet version of "Last Train From Overbrook" with Moody on flute and with Eddie Jefferson singing the famous, heartfelt story of Moody's last trip by train from the Overbrook institution in the 1950's after his conquest of an addiction. "Don't Blame Me" is a tenor sax thing of swinging beauty. "Blue Jubilee" is an outstanding bluesy flute solo by Moody, reminding us why many to this day consider Moody as jazz' premier flutist, with a funky solo by guitarist Johnny Gray. Eddie Jefferson lays down sensational alternative lyrics on "Summertime", along with his vocal gymnastics on the septet tracks of "Birdland Story", the bonus "Workshop", a very original vocal rendition of "I Cover the Waterfront", and the spectacular vocalese of "I'm In The Mood For Love" with Jefferson also humorously impersonating Blossom Dearie's bridge. Elsewhere on the septet tracks, there is Tom McIntosh's wonderful arrangement and trombone solo on "It Could Happen to You" and Little Johnny C's magical trumpet solo on "Easy Living". And finally, the awesome, churning big band version of "Last Train from Overbrook" is made available again on this CD. Moody towers over everything, impressively swinging and inventing on the fly. This is an Essential Jazz Collection Recording, IMHO, that gets My Highest Recommendation. Five SWINGING Stars! (Audio CD, 23 tracks-79:29 total time.)
(Trivia: In his mid-80's, the venerable James Moody is still going strong as shown on 2009's Moody 4A and 2008's Our Delight. Tracks similar to "Hey, It's James Moody" can be found on Moody's Mood for Love. Eddie Jefferson did indeed write the famous vocalese lyrics to James Moody's solo on "I'm In The Mood For Love" and allowed King Pleasure to record it; Blossom Dearie sang the bridge on that recording.)"