James Moody: 4A (2009)
4A draws on a classic repertoire, visiting time-honored standards including "Without A Song," "Stella By Starlight," and "Bye Bye Blackbird." Moody is especially touching on the ballads, "Round Midnight" and "East of The Sun," where his play is elegant and soulful, while allowing Barrona long-time collaborator on past projectsto shine a bit with light, delicate piano lines, making these pieces that much more special. With a percussive intro from Nash, the sparkling light bossa of "Stella By Starlight," with energy supplied by the crew, becomes one of the highlights of the album.
The session kicks off with a lengthy ten-and-a-half minute take on the Fain and Webster standard "Secret Love," and moves along to Barron's "Voyage," a bright contemporary jazz number that contains some of the saxophonist's better moments on the instrument. The set closes with Benny Golson's "Stablemates" and a very tasteful rendition of "Bye Bye Blackbird," giving Barron and Coolman a share of the stage as they put together a couple of strong solo performances. A thoroughly enjoyable recording session from James Moody and his fine cadre of "moody men," if 4A is an indication of what 4B may have to offer, this may indeed be "Moody's Finest Effort" as Coolman so boldly states.
Track Listing: Secret Love; Voyage; 'Round Midnight; Without A Song; Stella By Starlight; East of The Sun; Stablemates; Bye Bye Blackbird.
Personnel: James Moody: tenor saxophone; Kenny Barron: piano; Todd Coolman: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.
Record Label: IPO Recordings