For over six decades, saxophone master James Moody has serenaded lovers with his signature song Moody's Mood for Love an improvisation on the chord progressions of I'm in the Mood for Love.
Born in Savannah, Georgia on March 26, 1925, and raised in Newark, New Jersey, James Moody took up the alto sax, a gift from his uncle, at the age of 16. Within a few years he fell under the spell of the deeper more full- bodied tenor saxophone after hearing Buddy Tate and Don Byas perform with the Count Basie Band at the Adams Theater in Newark, New Jersey.
In 1946, following service in the United States Air Force, Moody joined the seminal bebop big band of Dizzy Gillespie, beginning an association that - on stage and record, in orchestras and small combos - afforded a young Moody worldwide exposure and ample opportunity to shape his improvisational genius. Upon joining Gillespie, Moody was at first awed, he now admits, by the orchestra's incredible array of talent, which included Milt Jackson, Kenny Clark, Ray Brown, Thelonius Monk. The encouragement of the legendary trumpeter-leader, made his mark on the young saxophonist. His now legendary 16-bar solo on Gillespie's Emanon alerted jazz fans to an emerging world-class soloist.
During his initial stay with Gillespie, Moody also recorded with Milt Jackson for Dial Records in 1947. One year later he made his recording debut as a leader James Moody and His Bop Men for (Blue Note).
In 1949 Moody moved to Europe where in Sweden he recorded the masterpiece of improvisation for which he is renowned, Moody's Mood for Love.
Returning to the States in 1952 with a huge "hit" on his hands, Moody employed vocalist Eddie Jefferson. Also, working with him during that period were Dinah Washington and Brook Benton.
In 1963 he rejoined Gillespie and performed off and on in the trumpeter's quintet for the remainder of the decade.
Moody moved to Las Vegas in 1973 and had a seven year stint in the Las Vegas Hilton Orchestra, doing shows for Bill Cosby, Ann-Margaret, John Davidson, Glen Campbell, Liberace, Elvis Presley, The Osmonds, Milton Berle, Redd Foxx, Charlie Rich, and Lou Rawls to name a few.
Moody returned to the East Coast and put together his own band again - much to the delight of his dedicated fans. In 1985, Moody received a Grammy Award Nomination for Best Jazz Instrumental Performance for his playing on Manhattan Transfer's Vocalese album thus setting the stage for his re-emergence as a major recording artist.