James Moody | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

James Moody 

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In the last month or so, two James Moody albums have been released. Honey, on Novus, was recorded last fall, while the other--a Blue Note reissue-is made up of tunes played by James Moody's Modernists in the fall of 1948, when he was still in Dizzy Gillespie's employ. Taken together, these discs offer a telescoped view of virtually his entire career; but then so does a typical Moody set, which might include bebop chestnuts, distinctive and atmospheric compositions from the last 30 years' repertoire, bouncy contemporary material--and of course the obligatory rendition of "Moody's Mood for Love," his famous 1949 tenor solo that was later given lyrics by Eddie Jefferson and became a hit recording for such vocalists as King Pleasure in the 50s and George Benson a quarter century later. Moody always plays (and sings) this one for laughs, but underlying his irrepressible humor is one of the most sophisticated and original conceptions to grow from bebop seeds. He remains a demon tenor player; his dynamic flute work set early standards for that instrument in jazz; and his alto saxophone can be a locomotive or a Lorelei. In Chicago, he'll play with a quartet headed up by pianist John Young, whose sense of musical humor matches (and at times even betters) Moody's own. Tuesday though next Sunday, June 9, Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase, Blackstone Hotel, 636 S. Michigan; 427-4300.

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April 30
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Monet and Chicago Art Institute of Chicago
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