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Be-Bop Star James Moody Brings Moody’s Mood For Love” to the Berrie Center at Ramapo College

(PDF) (DOC) (JPG)February 10, 2004

(Mahwah) — The James Moody Ensemble, featuring be-bop legend James Moody – a longtime friend and collaborator of jazz great Dizzy Gillespie – best known for his original composition, Moody’s Mood for Love,” will make a rare North Jersey appearance Saturday, March 6 at 8 p.m. in the Sharp Theater at Ramapo College of New Jersey.

Over his extensive jazz career, Moody has performed in more than 30 countries and at prestigious venues such as the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, the White House, Royal Festival Hall in London, and the Vienna Opera House. According to critics and friends alike, Moody is one of the enduring figures in modern jazz. Peter Watrous of the New York Times, says, As a musical explorer, performer, collaborator and composer he has made an indelible contribution to the rise of American music as the dominant musical force of the 20th century.” Lifelong friend Dizzy Gillespie adds, Playing with James Moody is like playing with a continuation of myself.”

Born in Savannah, GA in March 1925 and raised in Newark, Moody took up the alto sax, a gift from his uncle, at the age of 16. A few years later, impressed by saxmen Buddy Tate and Don Byas of the Count Basie Orchestra, he switched to the full-bodied tenor saxophone. Following his discharge from the U.S. Air Force in 1947, Moody joined the influential be-bop big band of Dizzy Gillespie. During that time, he recorded with trumpeter Howard McGhee and vibist Milt Jackson for Dial Records. A year later he made his recording debut as a leader using players from the Gillespie band.

In 1949, Moody moved to Paris, where during a record date in Stockholm, Sweden, he recorded the hit for which he is best known, Moody’s Mood for Love.” The song became a huge instrumental hit in the United States. Then the vocal version, sung by King Pleasure, became a hit too. Moody returned to the United States in 1951 and, as leader of the influential James Moody Septet, toured with Dinah Washington, integrating jazz and rhythm and blues. The 1950s also saw Moody recording several albums as a flautist. He was one of the first be-bop saxophonists to embrace the flute.

In 1995, Moody’s release of Young at Heart was a tribute to songs associated with Frank Sinatra. Also in 1995, Telarc released Moody’s Party, a live recording of his 70th birthday celebration at the Blue Note in New York City. His 75th birthday was celebrated at Avery Fisher Hall in New York on April 3, 2000 with the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra under the direction of Wynton Marsalis and many guests, such as Slide Hampton, Jon Hendricks and Annie Ross, Jon Faddis, Kenny Barron, Janis Siegel and Bill Cosby.

Tickets are $21 for general admission, $18 for seniors and $12 for youth. The Sharp Theater is located in the Angelica and Russ Berrie Center for Performing and Visual Arts on the Ramapo College campus. For information or to order tickets, call (201) 684-7844.

This program is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, a Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts.


About Ramapo College

Ramapo College of New Jersey is the state’s premier public liberal arts college and is committed to academic excellence through interdisciplinary and experiential learning, and international and intercultural understanding. The comprehensive college is situated among the beautiful Ramapo Mountains, is within commuting distance to New York City, was named one of the 50 Most Beautiful College Campuses in America by CondeNast Traveler, and boasts the best on-campus housing in New Jersey per Established in 1969, Ramapo College offers bachelor’s degrees in the arts, business, data science, humanities, social sciences and the sciences, as well as in professional studies, which include business, education, nursing and social work. In addition, the College offers courses leading to teacher certification at the elementary and secondary levels, and offers graduate programs leading to master’s degrees in Accounting, Applied Mathematics, Business Administration, Contemporary Instructional Design, Computer Science, Creative Music Technology, Data Science, Educational Leadership, Nursing, Social Work and Special Education, as well as a Doctor of Nursing Practice.


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