Famed Saxophonist/Flutist James Moody Passes

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 9 — Famed jazz musician, composer and band leader James Moody died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at the San Diego Hospice, his wife said. He was 85.

Linda McGowan Moody told The San Diego Union-Tribune the saxophonist and flutist, who enjoyed a successful career that spanned six decades, died with his family by his side, following a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer.

“He couldn’t have gone more peacefully,” Moody told the newspaper.

About James Moody
James Moody has been an institution in jazz since the late ’40s, whether on tenor, flute, occasional alto, or yodelling his way through his “Moody’s Mood for Love.”

After serving in the Air Force (1943-1946), he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s bebop orchestra and began a lifelong friendship with the trumpeter. Moody toured Europe with Gillespie and then stayed overseas for several years, working with Miles Davis, Max Roach, and top European players.

His 1949 recording of “I’m in the Mood for Love” in 1952 became a hit under the title of “Moody’s Mood for Love” with classic vocalese lyrics written by Eddie Jefferson and a best-selling recording by King Pleasure.

After returning to the U.S., Moody formed a septet that lasted for five years, recorded extensively for Prestige and Argo, took up the flute, and then from 1963-1968, was a member of Dizzy Gillespie’s quintet.

He worked in Las Vegas show bands during much of the 1970s before returning to jazz, playing occasionally with Gillespie, mostly working as a leader and recording with Lionel Hampton’s Golden Men of Jazz.

Moody, who has alternated between tenor (which he prefers) and alto throughout his career, has an original sound on both horns. He is also one of the best flutists in jazz.

James Moody has recorded as a leader for Blue Note, Xanadu, Vogue, Prestige, EmArcy, Mercury, Argo, DJM, Milestone, Perception, MPS, Muse, Vanguard, and Novus.

by Scott Yanow, AllMusic.com

Published in: on December 10, 2010 at 9:04 AM  Leave a Comment  
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