In A Swedish Mood


While living in Stockholm between 1949 and '51, saxophonist James Moody recorded two albums for Prestige. Fantasy has combined them into James Moody And The Swedish All-Stars: Greatest Hits!, a 24-track release available in both CD and MP3 format.

Playing both tenor and alto sax, Moody had the chops to match his contemporaries Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, but his style was more relaxed and lighthearted. Bird and 'Trane always played as if every solo would be their last. At 85, Moody has outlived them by decades and never stopped performing.

Moody's humor shines on "The Flight (A.K.A. The Flight Of The Bopple Bee)." The 12 bar blues opens with Moody sounding like a large, angry bee before landing on a melody that's a cross between Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight Of The Bumblebee" and Parker's "Cool Blues." The consummate balladeer, he explores the depths of "Embraceable You," "Over The Rainbow" and "Out Of Nowhere." Some of the tracks feature orchestral strings behind him, like the several strings albums that Bird released.

Moody's two most well known tunes are here, Tadd Dameron's "Good Bait" and "I'm In The Mood For Love." His solo on "Mood For Love" was immortalized into a vocalese by jazz singer and lyricist King Pleasure. The result, "Moody's Mood For Love," recorded several times by top jazz vocalists, has surpassed the popularity of the original.