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Sanctuary/Castle Music’s latest reissue contains a collection of albums from James Moody in the early 1970’s. Both albums, The Teachers and Heritage Hum, were from Moody’s work on Perception Records that found him expressing himself politically with a funky / soulful groove.
Evident in this collection is Moody’s virtuosity at his instrument and his ability to tell a story and convey his thoughts or emotion using his instrument as a vessel, all while keeping your attention with a funky groove and catchy melody. It is no doubt the best way to convey a message. Particularly enjoyable is Moody’s take on the Lennon / McCartney penned “Hello Goodbye,” and his poignant composition “Unchained.”
Moody’s career mirrors that of Dizzy Gillespie quite often. Moody joined Gillespie’s band in the mid-forties and like Gillespie ventured into the world of Afro-Cuban music with the aid of Chano Pozo. So, it should be no surprise that both Gillespie and Moody would both venture into the 1970’s fusion of jazz with funk and soul. Not to say that Moody is simply a follower of Gillespie’s musical paths, it is simply an acknowledgement that two great musical players think alike, especially when they are open to outside musical and cultural influences.
The Teachers is a delightful collection from this legendary saxophonist (soprano, alto and tenor with a flute thrown in) and sometimes (as in Ken Burns’ Jazz ) underappreciated figure.
Track Listing: Disc One: The Teachers
1. The Teachers
2. Rest Sweetly, Brother Dove
4. The New Spirit
5. Hello, Goodbye
6. Behind Every Good Man
7. Street Talk Suite
Disc Two: Heritage Hum
1. Heritage Hum
2. Sound For Sore ears
3. Road Runner
I love jazz because anything is possible; it has few rules and the best jazz breaks those ones. I prefer free improv because it doesn't really have any rules at all.
I was first exposed to jazz in my teens (in the late sixties).
The first jazz record I bought was Filles de Kilimanjaro by Miles Davis, shortly followed by Extrapolation by John McLaughlin.
My advice to new listeners is to listen as widely as possible and not to make snap judgments--stick with it.