231

James Moody: Moody 4B

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
James Moody: Moody 4B James Moody's 4B is a companion-piece—or continuation-of-sorts—of 2009's 4A. The two albums, while released a year apart, were recorded on back-to-back days in 2008. While the "B" status might lead to the conclusion that this is a consolation prize of an album, that's is hardly the case. Moody and his superb quartet, featuring fellow Dizzy Gillespie-alumnus Kenny Barron on piano, Todd Coolman on bass and Lewis Nash on drums, lend their expert skills to original material, jazz classics and Great American Songbook fare.

Finding new ways to bring oft-played favorites to life, and finding something meaningful to say/play on these pieces, is not always an easy task. Fortunately, these four A-listers seem to be up to the challenge. Barron gets the locomotive moving—at a relaxed clip—on "Take The A Train," but it becomes an express train when the whole quartet gets involved. "Hot House" is slower than usual here and Moody is suave as can be when he works through head. "Speak Low" is re-imagined as a Calypso-influenced excursion—with Barron adding some Cuban-sounds to the mix—and the rhythm section moves between their island-inspired groove and a swing feel. With the exception of the ballads, Moody's soloing shines brightest on this one.

The ballads—all superb from start to finish—come in different shapes and sizes. Moody's melodic expression on "Polka Dots & Moonbeams" is an example of emotive playing at its finest. Cole Porter's "I Love You" gets a beguine-meets-ballad treatment, courtesy of Nash. Barron's soloing is more rhythmically engaging than Moody's on this one, as the saxophonist prefers to use more finesse than firmness. Barron's "Nikara's Song" has a moodier (no pun intended) sense of intrigue to it, with Moody's tender saxophone sound and Barron's mood-setting skills used to full effect.

While Nash ably demonstrates his ability to shape a song with subtly sliding brushstrokes, his crisp, clean, highly articulate single-stroke playing with brushes has become more of a calling card for him. These skills are put to use on Todd Coolman's "O.P. Update" and "But Not For Me," which features some superb soloing from Coolman. Both rhythm men even have an opportunity to trade back and forth a bit on "Along Came Betty"—Moody's nod to fellow octogenarian saxophone legend Benny Golson. 4B, like its similarly named sibling album, is a fine edition to the catalog of one of the most enduring and important saxophonists in jazz.


Track Listing: Take The A Train; Hot House; Speak Low; Polka Dots & Moonbeams; I Love You; O.P. Update; Nikara's Song; Along Came Betty; But Not For Me.

Personnel: James Moody: tenor saxophone; Kenny Barron: piano; Todd Coolman: bass; Lewis Nash: drums.

Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: IPO Recordings | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Connection" CD/LP/Track Review Connection
by Glenn Astarita
Published: May 11, 2016
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute to Jimmy Van Heusen
by Jerome Wilson
Published: October 4, 2016
Read "Conditions" CD/LP/Track Review Conditions
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 16, 2016
Read "Magic Light" CD/LP/Track Review Magic Light
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: April 25, 2016
Read "Havana Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Havana Blue
by Jack Bowers
Published: August 13, 2016
Read "Interstellar Space" CD/LP/Track Review Interstellar Space
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: May 29, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!