All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

231

James Moody: Moody 4B

Dan Bilawsky By

Sign in to view read count
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.

Title: Moody 4B | Year Released: 2010 | Record Label: IPO Recordings

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Book Reviews
Big Band Report
CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
Moody 4B

Moody 4B

IPO Recordings
2010

buy
Our Delight: Hank Jones and James Moody

Our Delight: Hank...

IPO Recordings
2009

buy
4A

4A

IPO Recordings
2009

buy
 

Moody 4A

IPO Recordings
2009

buy
 

Our Delight

IPO Recordings
2009

buy
Our Delight

Our Delight

IPO Recordings
2008

buy

Related Articles

Read A New Beginning CD/LP/Track Review
A New Beginning
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet CD/LP/Track Review
Onyx Noir - Jazz Works For Brass Quintet
by Gareth Thompson
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Triad CD/LP/Track Review
Triad
by Mark Corroto
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Sketches of American Music CD/LP/Track Review
Sketches of American Music
by Doug Collette
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Three Pictures CD/LP/Track Review
Three Pictures
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: June 23, 2018
Read Alive In The East? CD/LP/Track Review
Alive In The East?
by Chris May
Published: June 22, 2018
Read "This City" CD/LP/Track Review This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read "Pulse/Quartet" CD/LP/Track Review Pulse/Quartet
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: January 19, 2018
Read "Mephiti" CD/LP/Track Review Mephiti
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 24, 2018
Read "The Way of It" CD/LP/Track Review The Way of It
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 19, 2017
Read "Influences" CD/LP/Track Review Influences
by Don Phipps
Published: February 17, 2018
Read "Transatlantic" CD/LP/Track Review Transatlantic
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018