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James Moody / Hank Jones: Our Delight (2008)

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James Moody / Hank Jones: Our Delight How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.

Marking the very first pairing of these two giants of Jazz, Our Delight brings together two legends, saxophonist James Moody and pianist Hank Jones in a performance with one purpose, to delight jazz audiences with the music of Tadd Dameron and Dizzy Gillespie. The late great trumpeter took Moody under his wing and became his mentor, providing a jazz education that gives the saxophonist a unique perspective of Gillespie's music. Jones traveled a different path, gaining an enrichment of jazz by performing with a virtual "Who's Who" of musicians from Detroit to New York, from the '40s to the present. Both men are indeed masters of their craft as is evident from the music contained in this historic recording.

Rounding out The James Moody and Hank Jones Quartet are bassist Todd Coolman and drummer Adam Nussbaum, who both felt fortunate, as Coolman writes "to have perhaps absorbed at least an ounce of Moody's and Jones' expertise" on this remarkable session. Remarkable because the music swings in true bop fashion, with Moody leading the way with sharp tenor solos throughout. However, Jones and the rest of the band are not far behind in claiming their own portion of the music.

While the majority of the twelve tunes are from Dameron and Gillespie, there are a select few charts from others, including the familiar Heyman/Green standard "Body & Soul," Moody's own "Darben the Red Foxx" and Jimmy Heath's "Moody's Groove," which provides a bonus vocal performance by Roberta Gambarini. But the music kicks off with Moody's brisk read of Dameron's title tune, leading to Gillespie's minor blues "Birk's Works" where both masters display their ample chops.

The duo deliver a memorable performance on the beautifully haunting ballad "Soul Trane" as Moody blows softly to Nussbaum's delicate brush strokes, in turn giving way to Jones, who comes through with delicious piano lines. The program comes to a close with "Moody's Groove," but not before the band runs through a quick rendition of "Woody N' You," and a laid back read of "Old Folks" which captures Moody on the flute.

James Moody and Hank Jones combine here to make, as the liner notes state, "a cohesive, solid and deep musical statement" that seems to convey a message: that this historic recording was in many ways Our Delight to perform. With this album, Moody and Jones mark a milestone in music and have thankfully, and finally filled a void in jazz that has existed for far too long.

Track Listing: Our Delight; Birk's Works; Con Alma; Ladybird; Eternal Triangle; Body & Soul; Good Bait; Darben the Red Foxx; Soul Trane; Woody' N You; Old Folks; Moody's Groove.

Personnel: James Moody: tenor saxophone and flute (11); Hank Jones: piano; Todd Coolman: bass; Adam Nussbaum: drums.

Record Label: IPO Recordings

Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


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