For someone who is at an age when most of us (including me) would be napping in the sun, James Moody is on quite a roll. After a warm reception for last year’s Our Delight, an album that featured the legendary saxophonist’s collaboration with the equally respected pianist Hank Jones and his quartet, Moody has something new for his fans.
On his latest effort, Moody 4A, Moody has formed his own quartet, although he is again sharing the spotlight with some tremendously talented pros. The Moody 4 includes Kenny Barron, who is one of the most respected keyboard artists around, along with Todd Coolman on bass and Lewis Nash on drums. (The foursome meshed so well that plans are already under way to generate a Moody 4B.)
Although he has performed both soprano and alto sax on many recordings — and even flute once in a while — Moody sticks mostly to his tenor sax here, and he’s in fine form. Although he’s had a long career in jazz, he might be best remembered for his long association with Dizzy Gillispie during the bebop era. However, this album is filled to the brim with a collection of swinging traditional jazz standards.
Some of the best tracks include “East Of The Sun,” which features some especially lush notes from Moody, and one of my favorites, “Stella By Starlight.” The latter is given a Latin beat, which makes it even better. Also among the good listens here are Benny Golson’s sax anthem “Stablemates,” which Moody handles just fine, and one of Barron’s own pieces, “Voyager,” which gives the talented pianist some room to stretch.
Good stuff, and I’ve only mentioned a few of the many good tracks on this album. A solid followup to Moody’s previous effort, and recommended for traditional jazz fans.