James Moody - In The Beginning

James Moody, who had departed from the Gillespie reed section in 1947 and joined the Howard McGhee combo of which Milt Jackson was also a member, left the U.S. in '48 to investigate the European scene on his own. A family member living in Paris took him in in the Trocadero neighborhood. In May of 1949 the Miles Davis - Tadd Dameron Quintet recruited Moody as its tenorman for the Paris International Jazz Festival, the grandfather of all jazz festivals (if Newport is considered the father).

The 15th was the final day of the festival; both the Charlie Parker quintet and the Davis-Dameron quintet played, but the Parker group went into the studio. In place of Parker's alto was Moody's tenor. Not only does Max Roach appear with this group, but Kenny Dorham joins them on trumpet, Tommy Potter on bass, and Al Haig on piano. The second half is all Moody, recorded at concerts in Switzerland, with excellent if less well-known musicians. This album is a real gem, one no collection should be without.

SKU: IC7020

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Prince Albert Baby Tomorrow Maximum Ham and Haig Just Moody Star Dust Curley Top Blues Moody and Soul Monday Blues Hot House Lover Man

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist James Moody
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Max Roach, Kenny Dorham on trumpet, Tommy Potter on bass, Al Haig on piano
SKU IC7020


Customer Reviews (2)

"King James"Review by Big Toots
IC 7020 In the Beginning James Moody

I’d guess it is somewhat appropriate that the title of this historic peek-in quotes the first lines of the Good Book. That’s because in this superb recording we encounter the great saxophonist, James Moody, - then a very young man in his twenties - recording with various rhythm section configurations, including five cuts with Charlie Parker’s already well-established rhythm section. And, Moody shows that he was a most capable replacement in this Bird’s nest, albeit on tenor saxophone. That legendary group itself lost nothing since the Bird had flown and Moody arrived and soared with them and with the other rhythm teams, as well.

Recorded in Paris in 1949, this is truly classic Bop memorabilia from a number of historical and musical perspectives. Performance-wise, we are at an apex in the Bop Era before things cooled down. Thus, the entire cast here is infinitely on their respective Bebop games. The technicality and advanced improvisational ideas are non-stop. Moody, perhaps a hair reserved and possibly cautious of his esteemed cohorts, shows signs of maturity and reflection throughout (“Star Dust” – spelled correctly, I might add). He’s not ashamed to occasionally toss out a well-known Bird lick (“Moody and Soul”). Kenny Dorham here is an obvious Gillespie-Navarro acolyte, respectfully copping Dizzy tunes and licks with grace and good humor (“Tomorrow”). Compositionally, as was custom then to avoid copyright and royalty issues, the melodies were composed over pre-existing tune chord changes (“Prince Albert” over “All the Things You Are,” “Moody and Soul” for “Body and Soul,” and “Tomorrow” over “Yesterdays”). Additionally, some Bop work-horses are also covered (“Hot House” and “Lover Man”).

The various rhythm section permutations here are well up to the task of Bop prestissimo and improvisational fury. As far as the “A” Team - would you expect anything different from Al, Tommy and Max? They support the frontline with finesse, drive and taste. Roach, particularly is a madman.

“In the Beginning” portrays a brilliant individual musician early on and also the acknowledgement of the entire Bop Era. It is a history lesson provided by professors of supreme intelligence, talent, insight and artistry. These Cats matter because they are the Cats. For those who believe jazz began with “Giant Steps,” this will certainly be an eye-opening experience. It is definitely Moody’s mood for Bop. And, it is a kingly pleasure.
(Posted on 5/20/2015)
James MoodyReview by Simon Sez
Everyone loved James Moody. He was not only a great tenor, alto and soprano saxophonists and a fine flutist but he made everyone smile. While his life could not have always been an easy one, he gave people the impression that he was in love with life and breathing in general. He made everything seem fun both when he talked to people and when he communicated through his music. Possibly he learned to enjoy every moment from his friend and inspiration Dizzy Gillespie, but he had a lot of love inside of him from the start.
On In The Beginning, James Moody is heard near the beginning of his career, playing in Europe in the late 1940s after he had been with Gillespie’s big band. He is featured leading the Charlie Parker Quintet with Kenny Dorham and Max Roach, taking Parker’s place on a few numbers. He is also heard in Switzerland with other visiting American musicians including future Sun Ra member Marshall Allen. The music is boppish and, no surprise here, quite fun, but James Moody always was.

Simon Sez: If you want to smile, put on a James Moody record. In The Beginning (IC7020) has happy vibes and is a great place to start.
(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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