Friday, November 14, 2008

James Moody - "Feelin' It Together" (1973, Muse)

Back : Kenny Barron, Larry Ridley, Freddie Waits. Front : James Moody

Although James Moody is predominantly famous as a long time saxophonist for Dizzy Gillespie and as the composer of "Moody's Mood For Love" - check Moody himself singing it at that link - he's enjoyed a career as a leader in his own right for over sixty years and is still going strong.

The clip above is an interview with 82 year old Moody, shot in August this year by the people from Blackademics ("the premiere online roundtable for young black thinkers"). While he eats his soup, Moody talks about his first musical collaborations while stationed in the Air Force in 1943; his disenchantment with racism in the USA which caused him to move to Europe for several years; contemporary racism; and bebop, swing and musical evolution. He finishes by opining “When you stop growing, you’re through”.

JAMES MOODY & the early 1970s

While Moody's albums had played around the edges of bebop, in the 1970s he both embraced and influenced the emerging paths being taken by his collaborators in structure, source and instrumentation - not travelling deep into the avante-garde, but always looking beyond jazz's perceived boundaries.

1970's wistful and laid-back "Heritage Hum" saw Moody turning more to his flute alongside his better-known tenor and alto saxaphone, at the same time as his harmonic structures in some tracks began to journey below the U.S. border.

After recording the relatively straight-ahead "Too Heavy For Words" with Al Cohn in 1971, he released "The Teachers" (1971), on which he began to embrace soul jazz, funk and some New Orleans-tinged blues elements, a smorgasbord that seemed to either reflect or grow from Dizzy Gillespie's fusions on Perception Records at the time, albums such as "The Real Thing" in which many of the same players took part.

Fellow Gillespie comrade Mike Longo, who'd been on "Heritage Hum", also brought Moody on board for his '72 album "Awakening", which furthered some of the textures established on "The Teachers" , particularly pushing up the funk quotient by incorporating Alex Gafa's wah-wah guitar.

The soul jazz factor came to the fore on Moody's first Muse record in 1972, "Never Again", with his tenor sax working hard against Mickey Tucker's great hammond organ work on tracks like "Freedom Jazz Dance".

"Feelin' It Together" was recorded on January 15th, 1973; and represents another stage in the type of growth he speaks of above.

The album opens by looking back to the players' bebop roots with a complex, frenetic nine-minute rendition of "Anthropology", composed by Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker and Walter Bishop, originally derived from a bebop variation of "I Got Rhythm". Moody soars on alto sax here, trading solos with Kenny Barron's acoustic piano and Larry Ridley's bass, while drummer Freddie Waits scats around Ridley's insistent walking improvs.

While the title of his previous album "Never Again" had apparently referred to his desire to stick to tenor playing from now on, "Feelin' It Together" features Moody on tenor, alto and flute for two tracks each.

Keyboardist Kenny Barron was ten weeks away from recording his debut album "Sunset to Dawn", and that album's references to latin rhythm and brazilian harmonic structures can be felt here in nascent form in his two compositions, "Morning Glory" and "Dreams", both of which feature his spacious rhodes work.

Moody's flute work is superb on "Dreams", with finely controlled and varying tremelo that initially engages directly with the inbuilt tremelo on Barron's rhodes, working around the rhodes' metered pulse with subtle variations - dancing with the machine, if you like. Likewise, his alto sax work on Barron's "Morning Glory" sits above the warm bed of rhodes chords in a whisper-to-a-scream display of dynamic virtuosity.

Barron's work with Moody went as far back as "Another Bag" (1962), and since then he'd appeared on the Moody albums “Moody and the Brass Figures” (1966) and “The Blues And Other Colors” (1969), as well as working with him on a multitude of Dizzy Gillespie albums in the 60s. He'd continue to work on at least another four Moody albums, including "Sun Journey" in 1976.

There's a nice extended version of the standard "Autumn Leaves", with an atmospheric opening built over Freddie Wait's percussion rumbling. When the theme comes in, Moody's aching tenor is counterpointed by Barron's complex chord-based improvisations. There's no clear separation to sax "solo" as Moody subtly builds his improvisations out of the song's melody, then hands over to Barron's piano for a floating series of arpeggio clouds.

Moody and Barron also trade solos throughout an interesting interpretation of Jobim's "Wave". Here's a pdf score for Moody's flute part. The track has a sparse, atmospheric opening with Freddie Waits on shakers and tin flute sliding over Barron's rhodes, before it develops into a chugging bossa with Moody on flute. (For a very different, but also great version of "Wave", see Moody performing the track with the RIAS Big Band.)

The album finishes with an unusual version of "Kriss Kross". After the theme is sparsely introduced by Moody's sax over drums, it cuts almost incongruously to a fugue-like sequence with Barron on harpsichord, then Ridley walks us into a more traditional bebop / blues take on the track, with Moody blowing a hard tenor solo. A subsequent rhodes solo from Barron makes way for a bowed sequence from Ridley, before we return to the harpsichord fugue. It's a strange finish.

Busy drummer Freddie Waits had played on Hubert Law's "Carnegie Hall" album three days before recording this one. He'd also worked on Moody's "The Blues and Other Colours" (1969), and went on with Barron to record "Sunset to Dawn" ten weeks later in April.

As a founding member of Max Roach's percussion collective M'Boom, Waits worked on Brother Ah's "Sound Awareness" around this time, and would go on to record both Mboom's "Re: Percussion" and Neal Creque's "Hands Of Time" in August.

Still two years away from recording his debut album "Sum of the Parts" for Strata-East Records, bassist Larry Ridley came to this album with a twenty year history as a sideman, playing on albums by people like Freddie Hubbard, Lee Morgan, Horace Silver and many others.

Ridley's most recent date had been as a member of the "Jazz Contemporaries" for the 1972 Strata-East album "Reasons In Tonality". He'd also played with Moody on the "Newport In New York : The Jam Sessions (Vol 3&4)" album in 1972, and had worked with Kenny Barron as far back as 1962 on brother Bill Barron's album "The Hot Line".

Later in 1973 James Moody would join up with producer Richard Evans for "Sax & Flute Man" (later re-released as "The World Is a Ghetto"), a more commercial production in the vein of Evans' production of Ahmad Jamal's "Ahmad Jamal 73", even covering two of the same tracks. Some of it's a little too easy-listening for my ears, but there's three or so good tracks, nice rhodes work and some funky moments - worth checking out.

You'll find links for "Feelin' it Together" in the comments, but also check through the sections below for many additional albums and extra treats. Hope you enjoy this one, let me know what you think.



01 'Anthropology' - 9:07
(D. Gillespie / C.Parker / W. Bishop)
pub : Music Sales Corp, ASCAP

02 'Dreams' - 4:59
pub : Wazuri pubishing Co. BMI

03 'Autumn Leaves' - 9:31
(J.Mercer / J.Kosma / J.Prevert)
pub : Morley Music Corp. BMI

04 'Wave' - 7:46
pub : Corcovado Music Corp. BMI

05 'Morning Glory' - 7:21
pub : Wazuri pubishing Co. BMI

06 'Kriss Kross' - 7:21
(R.Holloway / A.Hillery)
pub : Red Holloway Publishing BMI


James Moody - alto sax, tenor sax and flute
Kenny Barron - acoustic piano, electric piano and harpsichord
Larry Ridley - bass
Freddie Waits - drums, misc. percussion, tin flute


Muse Records 5020
Produced by Don Schlitten
Recorded January 15, 1973
Recorded at Media Sound, New York City

JAMES MOODY BLOG DISCOGRAPHY 1947 "Jazz in Paris : Bebop" (w/Don Byas & Howard McGhee) at i For india or Music-a-k-o

1948 "James Moody and his Modernists" / alternate FLAC
album track : "Tin Tin Deo" DOWNLOAD

1951 "James Moody With Strings" at Call It Anything

"Wail Moody Wail" at Call It Anything or jazzdisposition

1956/58 "Flute n' the Blues"/"Last Train from Overbrook" at CIA

"Cookin' The Blues" donated by The Jazzmanmediafire covers here
rapidshare audio 1 2 3 4 5
megaupload audio 1 2 3 4 5

1962/63 "Another Bag"/"Comin' On Strong" 1 2 3
1963 "Great Day" at Guitar and the Wind

"Running the Gamut"
album track : "If You Grin You're In" at Office Naps (check this post on Ed Bland)

1966 "Night Flight" (w/Gil Fuller & Monterey Jazz Festival Orchestra) at CIA

1966 "Moody and the Brass Figures" at Blog O Blog

"Don't Look Away Now"
album track : "Easy Living" at youtube

"The Teachers" from anonymous
album track : "Unchained" at youtube

1971 "Heritage Hum" from anonymous1971 "Too Heavy For Words" (w/Al Cohn) at Magic Purple Sunshine(released 1974)

"Never Again"

1973 "Feelin' It Together" in comments here.

"Sax and Flute Man" aka "World Is A Ghetto" at My Jazz World / alternate 1976 'Timeless Aura' at Jazzy Melody

1977 "Sun Journey"

1989 "Sweet and Lovely" 1 2 3 4 5

1996 "Young at Heart" at Israbox

1997 "Young at Heart" at Avax

2004 "Moody Plays Mancini" at Avax
* Further uploads or blog links for the other 34 albums appreciated!
* See full discography here
* I'd love to hear Beyond this World (1977)


Donated by The Jazzman (big thanks!)
Rapidshare ONE TWO THREE

1. James Moody
2. King Pleasure with Blossom Dearie
3. Eddie Jefferson
4. Annie Ross
5. King Pleasure
6. Eddie Jefferson & James Moody
7. Queen Latifah
8. King Pleasure
9. Robert Moore
10. King Pleasure
11. George Benson
12. Bob Welch
13. Eddie Jefferson & James Moody-live
14. King Pleasure


With the RIAS Big Band :
"Giant Steps"
"I Can't Get Started"


Moody rapping at the North Sea Jazz festival

Video tribute for Moody's birthday this year with words from Moody.

James Moody general search at youtube.

is here


CD rip of "Feelin' it Together" in WAV/MP3 by Simon666CD rips of "The Teacher" and "Heritage Hum" by Anonymous"Moody's Mood for Love" compilation by The Jazzman
"Cookin' The Blues" rip by The Jazzman
Special thanks to Ish for advice.

Apart from blogs noted in the discography, album links in this post go to :

ile oxumaré, El goog ja, Orgy in Rhythm, original funk music, Jazzdisposition, magic purple sunshine, Blog-o-Blog, my favourite sound, call it anything, the cti never sleeps, fm shades, jazz’n’rakugo, romanticwarrior-jazz, República de Fiume, gutar and the wind, My Jazz World, Lysergic Funk

Please thank and support these bloggers if you click through and download.



Simon666 said...

Yes, and all the files are called "Keepin" it Together instead of "Feelin" ... I was tired ..

ish said...

Simon your posts never disappoint. Thanks for this one. I always get something from the historical context you explore. I didn't actually realize Moody was still around...glad for the current youtube clip as well. (The clip of him eating his soup reminds me of a radio interview I heard with an older Nina Simone who was eating and seemed to enjoy her food more than the interview. I guess at that stage of career and life achievement you're entitled to your priorities)

Simon666 said...

Thanks Ish.
There's a doco on Nina Simone that starts with her driving around her childhood neighbourhood, together with her childhood sweetheart. Both of them are in their 60s. She starts chastising him for treating her badly 50 years before and begins to cry. She's not an easy person :)

Fiume420 said...

It's an honor, Simon

Congratulations for your blog

cheeba said...

Thanks for another masterpiece, Simon! The way you follow a thread through seemingly random chaos you could pobably connect-the-dots on a Jackson Pollock and come out with a photo.

Thanks for bringing me up to speed on Moody and, of course, for all the links!!

Solomon said...

Thank you.

Muzag said...

Excellent. Can you provide a link for "The Jazzman"? That '14 VERSIONS OF "MOODY's MOOD FOR LOVE"' was a rare and joyful find. I've always had a thing about that song.

Thank, you may blow now, I am through.

Simon666 said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Gary, the Jazzman prefers not to have his contact details published.

Simon666 said...

Jazzman has made another generous donation - FLAC files of "Cookin' The Blues" (1961) - see the discography for download links.

Originally issued as "Cookin The Blues" and re-issued with three additional tracks as JM At The Jazz Workshop.

Although James Moody, who is heard here on tenor, flute and alto, utilizes a septet that includes trumpeter Howard McGhee, he is the main soloist throughout. The live set finds Moody mostly emphasizing the blues at a variety of tempos, in addition to playing particularly memorable versions of "It Might as Well Be Spring," "'Round Midnight" and "Stablemates." Moody's friend singer Eddie Jefferson has three features: "Disappointed" (based on "Lady Be Good"), Horace Silver's "Sister Sadie," and a fine remake of "Moody's Mood for Love." Throughout the date, James Moody is heard in prime form on all three of his instruments; overall, this is one of his strongest sets. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide

1 Bloozey
2 The Jazz Twist
3 One For Nat
4 Bunny Boo
5 Moody Flooty
6 It Might As Well Be Spring
7 Disappointed
8 Sister Sadie
8 Little Buck
10 Home Fries
11 Round Midnight *
12 Stablemates *
13 Moody's Mood For Love (I'm In The Mood For Love)*

* Bonus tracks not on original LP.

(links in discography)

Art Simon said...

Thanks Simon,

I didn't want to finish the Youtube video. When he talked about German POWs having preferential treatment because of their race, it was too much. I don't doubt his experiences, I just hope our country has turned a corner, and I wonder what he would say about Obama. Thanks, as always a great blog.

Little Tony Negri said...


avocado kid said...

Thanks again Simon! someone should put together an interactive map that links together all these sessions and sidemen... it's kind of like the kevin bacon game but way more interesting!

johnv said...

Too bad for the lack of comments Simon. I appreciate all the hard work you do and I'm never disappointed when I visit this sight. I salute you , sir!

Simon666 said...

Thanks Art, Little Tony, Avocado Kid and johnv for the comments ...
johnv, i took that annoyed-at-no-comments thing down, was just feeling frustrated but all cool :)

g.raf said...

Thanks for this Simon.
The amount of work that must go into these posts!
I always learn alot here and really appreciate all the work you put in here and elsewhere.

Raw Restoration said...

No one in Bloggerville weaves the context of an album into context like Simon. I get exhausted enough just ripping, tagging, uploading and posting. Much admiration and respect for your labours of love.

Unknown said...

Yeah, this is the MUSE that you described in another post before. Most things at this discography are the first one for me.
Thanks Simon.

djfunkaholic said...

Thanks Simon,much appreciated.

taro nombei said...

I'm just starting to sink my teeth into this post, simon.
there's always so much to take in and new directions to explore.
thanks indeed.

taro nombei said...

I'm just starting to sink my teeth into this post, simon.
there's always so much to take in and new directions to explore.
thanks indeed.

culov said...

simon- 15 minutes ago i didnt know who this guy was. after reading your post, i know more about him than i do my cousins. thanks a lot for taking the time to put it all together! peace

Simon666 said...

Thanks Culov -
Maybe we need to do a post on your cousins :)

Citizen Kane said...

You still have the most comprehensive posts of any blog out there. Thank you for all the work and the great music to everyone that contributed!

Simon666 said...

Link added in post to Dizzy Gillespie's "Real Thing" album.

jb said...

Excellent research on both Moody and Longo. Fascinating. Thanks so much.

Reza said...

just listening to a j moody track on an old cassette thinking I must find this track and what better place to start !!!!!
incredible post as always mate :)

Simon666 said...

hey reza -
Greg emailed me about that track : It's the title track of "Heritage Hum", there's an album link a few paragraphs into this post.

Simon666 said...

Added to discography :

1951 "James Moody With Strings" at Call It Anything

Anonymous said...

Grand merci pour tous ces trésors. Big thanks for all these gems.

Northing said...

Was honored to witness Moody's return to Savannah, Ga in the 80's at a concert with Jo Jones on piano and Ben Tucker on bass, a ferocious, stomping performance.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this share, cant wait to check it out. youre doing a much welcome job here.

PE_35 said...

please, can you repost the James moody ''never again'' cd ?

thanks very much

Simon666 said...

Hi PE_35 -
That was on another blog. After the blog died I swapped it with the rapidshare link, but didn't keep a copy myself ... so unfortunately no! But if anyone here wants to re-up, would be much appreciated ...

PE_35 said...

hi Simon,

i appreciate your answer, i'll check at times in case of...

thanks for your wonderful jazz cd's .

ish said...

RIP James Moody, who has passed on at the age of 85.

Simon666 said...

Was just coming here to announce the same thing ... thanks ish ...

J Reid said...


Simon666 said...

Some links updated (not all!), one new addition to the discography :

"Timeless Aura" (1976) :