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The World Is A Ghetto

James Moody

 
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Moody's Educated Flute


"The World Is A Ghetto" is the title song from the 1973 album release featuring James Moody (flute and tenor saxophone), Richard Evans (bass), Tennyson Stevens (piano), Andre Fischer(drums), and Marshall Thompson (drums and congas).

James Moody born in Savannah, Georgia on March 26, 1925 was an American jazz saxophone and flute player. He was best known for his hit "Moody's Mood for Love," an improvisation based on "I'm in the Mood for Love"; in performance, he often sang Eddie Jefferson's vocalese lyrics for the tune, which Eddie had fit to Moody's famous solo.

Growing up in New Jersey, he was attracted to the saxophone after hearing George Holmes Tate, Don Byas, and various saxophonists who played with Count Basie, and later also took up the flute. He joined the US Army Air Corps in 1943 and played in the "negro band" on the segregated base. Following his discharge from the military in 1946 he played bebop with Dizzy Gillespie for two years. Moody later played with Gillespie in 1964, where his colleagues in the Gillespie group, pianist Kenny Barron and guitarist Les Spann, would be musical collaborators in the coming decades.

In 1948 he recorded his first session for Blue Note Records, the first in a long recording career playing both saxophone and flute. That same year he relocated to Europe, where he stayed for three years, saying he had been "scarred by racism" in the U.S. His European work, including the first recording of "Moody's Mood for Love", which became a hit in 1952, saw him add the alto saxophone to his repertoire and helped to establish him as recording artist in his own right, and formed part of the growth of European jazz. Then in 1952, he returned to the U.S. to a recording career with Prestige Records and others, playing flute and saxophone in bands that included musicians such as Pee Wee Moore and others. In the 1960s, he rejoined Dizzy Gillespie. He later worked also with Mike Longo.

The James Moody Quartet (with pianist Renee Rosnes, bassist Todd Coolman, and drummer Adam Nussbaum) was Moody's vehicle later in his career. Moody played regularly with Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars and the Dizzy Gillespie Alumni All-Stars Big Band and also often collaborated with former Gillespie alumnus, the trumpeter-composer-conductor Jon Faddis; Faddis and Moody worked in 2007 with the WDR Big Band in Cologne, Germany under the direction of Michael Abene.

On November 3, 2009, Moody appeared live in an interview conducted in both Italian and English (Moody spoke Italian) with the jazz aficionado, Nick "The Nightfly", on Radio Monte Carlo's late-night "Monte Carlo Nights" program. The chat featured an amiable Moody talking about his career.

Moody was married to Linda Moody; they resided in San Diego. He was an active member of the Bahá'í Faith. In 2005, the Moodys established the Moody Scholarship Fund at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College-State University of New York (SUNY Purchase); the first Moody Scholars, named in 2007, are saxophonist Andrew Gould and trumpeter Maxilmilien Darche. Moody was an NEA Jazz Master and often participated in educational programming and outreach, including with the International Association for Jazz Education, or IAJE.

On November 2, 2010, Moody's wife announced on his behalf that he had pancreatic cancer, and had chosen not to have it treated aggressively. Moody died in San Diego, on December 9, 2010, of complications from pancreatic cancer.

Two months following his death, Moody won the Grammy Award posthumously for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for his album Moody 4B. Named in his honor, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center hosts the James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival.



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