James Moody passed away today. It would take extraordinary words to adequately describe the genius of this remarkable artist. This album, his last, is a treasure and keepsake for all afficionados of jazz. Moody's phrasing and ideas say a lot about him. In his soliloquys, it's as if he is speaking directly to the listener. BeBop's last hope is gone, but his dominant force lives on in his music. From blazing speed to soulful ballads, James Moody has no peer.
With "Take The A Train" Kenny Barron opens matters establishing the melody in a most reflective manner, then Moody leaps in driving this tune like a high speed race car. Kenny Barron, in his time at bat, follows suit, operating and boperating magically. Nash has a most discreet solo and Moody finishes matters in his inimitable style.
"Hot House" Moody's tribute to Tadd Dameron, is pure bop. And anyone who knows your humble correspondent, knows of my affection, admiration and friendship with Dameron. Moody could make any tune swing and this tune has all the ingredients needed.
"Speak Low" speaks volumes in every note played by this quartet.
"Polka Dots and Moonbeams" track is a journey into the land of soul and emotion conveyed by this incomparable musician.
"But Not For Me" finds Kenny Barron and Lewis Nash exchanging 4's. A lovely bass solo follows by Mr. Coolman. Then Moody takes charge, loping along in a foot tapping mode. His message is clear and leaves nothing unsaid.
It would take the ear of Van Gogh not to appreciate this album.
Rest easy Moody.