James Moody

JVC Jazz Festival Highlights

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The second promotional jazz CD put out by the website GMN.com during 2000 features individual performances by several acts during the 1999 JVC Jazz Festival in New York City. Alto saxophonist James Moody leads a quartet through a sauntering version of Charlie Parker's bluesy "Parker's Mood." The Contemporary Piano Ensemble, with pianists Mulgrew Miller, Harold Mabern, Geoff Keezer, and Donald Brown (founder James Williams sits out this song as one member always does), plays "PNJ," a driving piece by Miller that was featured on their CD The Key Players. Jimmy Heath closes the half-hour of music with a long interpretation of one of his best known works, "Gingerbread Boy," which also showcases young alto saxophonist Antonio Hart, though the saxes sound buried a bit too much in the mix. As an added bonus, there is a CD-R program on the disc that has interview excerpts with Williams, Brown, Moody, Heath, and festival founder George Wein. Also, the Contemporary Piano Ensemble is seen and heard rehearsing another number, "There But the Grace Of," though the video footage seems to focus almost exclusively on head shots rather than much of the four keyboards while they're playing. Since this CD is intended to attract attention to the website rather than for commercial sale, it will likely become a highly sought-after collectable.