Tag Archives: James Moody

“But this one’s a great jazz musician”*: RIP James Moody

Jazz saxophonist/flautist James Moody died on Thursday after a months-long battle with pancreatic cancer.  He was 85 years old.

Earlier this month he received a grammy nomination for Moody 4B [Buy], an album recorded in 2008 but released this year.

Bill Cosby and Nancy Wilson (playing Denise’s mother-in-law) sang a duet of Moody’s most famous song, “Moody’s Mood for Love,” in an episode of The Cosby Show.  The youtube clip is unembeddable so you’ll have to follow this link.

NYT on “Moody’s Mood for Love”:

The song he sang most often had a memorable name and an unusual history. Based on the harmonic structure of “I’m in the Mood for Love,” it began life as an instrumental when Mr. Moody recorded it in Stockholm in 1949, improvising an entirely new melody on a borrowed alto saxophone. Released as “I’m in the Mood for Love” (and credited to that song’s writers) even though his rendition bore only the faintest resemblance to the original tune, it was a modest hit for Mr. Moody in 1951. It became a much bigger hit shortly afterward when the singer Eddie Jefferson wrote lyrics to Mr. Moody’s improvisation and another singer, King Pleasure, recorded it as “Moody’s Mood for Love.”

James Moody, “Rest Sweetly, Brother Dove” [Buy The Teachers/Heritage Hum]

*A reference to Simpson’s episode 2F32, “Round Springfield,” in which we are introduced to Bleedin’ Gums Murphy, previously referenced on Noise Narcs here.

Cosby: Hey, kids!  Meet Grampa Murphy.
Child: We have three grampas already!
Cosby: This one's a great jazz musician.
Child: Oh, they _all_ are.
Cosby: Oh, oh: you see, the kids, they listen to the rap music which
       gives them the brain damage.  With their hippin', and the
       hoppin', and the bippin', and the boppin', so they don't know
       what the jazz...is all about!  You see, jazz is like the Jello
       Pudding Pop -- no, actually, it's more like Kodak film -- no,
       actually, jazz is like the New Coke: it'll be around forever, heh
       heh heh.
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