James Moody

Moody 4B

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Recorded a day after the initial session that became the album 4A, James Moody convened the same band to document 4B, a collection of standards and two originals by pianist Kenny Barron and bassist Todd Coolman, respectively, with drummer Lewis Nash also in for the ride. Moody plays tenor sax exclusively in a mellow, swinging temperament that suggests he's done with bop from a speed point of view, but not melodically or harmonically. Even-keeled and cool, the band effortlessly wends its way through these familiar songs with supreme confidence and a sharp wit. Moody is supremely polished and graceful, with no wasted effort or notes on classic ballad fare, and an easygoing version of Tadd Dameron's "Hot House." There's a bit of samba or light tango, the Asian modal piece of Barron's "Nikara's Song," and the unison play between the piano, bass, and tenor sax during Coolman's "O.P.'s Delight" that mix things up. Moody commands great respect from his sidemen, and they are just too good and literate to be denied high accolades. Perhaps a safe concession to mainstream jazz, it's also very enjoyable for across-the-board audiences to recognize that James Moody has still got it, approaching his ninetieth birthday.

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