James Moody

NEA Jazz Master James Moody (or, simply, “Moody” as he was known to all) was one of the giants of modern jazz, whose career spanned more than 60 years and earned him respect and admiration worldwide. His playing had an inventiveness and eloquence that were unmatched, and fitted with the natural exuberance and goodwill that were trademarks of his personality. His playing and personality were virtually unchanged throughout his career into his 85th year, when he was awarded the Grammy for best instrumental album for “Moody 4B” on the IPO label.

Moody joined Dizzy Gillespie's seminal bebop band in 1946, a relationship that endured in various collaborations for the next 40 years. He was based in Paris from late 1948 to 1951, working with Miles Davis andTadd Dameron, recording with Max Roach, and touring throughout western Europe. He returned to the USA and led his own septet from 1951-62, adding flute to his performances from the mid-1950s. He was briefly with a three-tenor group with Gene Ammons and Sonny Stitt in 1962, and then featured in the Gillespie quintet of 1963-8, and the Gillespie big band in Europe in 1968. He then toured as a soloist, followed by a spell in Las Vegas backing bands from 1974-80.

For the next 35 years Moody toured and recorded extensively as a leader of his own groups. Moody was one of the earliest tenor players to be at home playing bop in the mid-1940s. His 1949 recording of "I'm In The Mood For Love" was one of the best selling jazz recordings of all time, and achieved immortality in the vocaleze version “Moody’s Mood for Love.”

James Moody's Website