JazzTimes (p.66) - "His tenor saxophone sound now has more burr and grain. But he still exercises such suave control over the shape of a solo that we trust him implicitly."
JazzTimes (p.36) - Ranked #18 in JazzTimes' "Top 50 CDs of 2009."
Personnel: James Moody (tenor saxophone); Kenny Barron (piano); Lewis Nash (drums).
Liner Note Author: Ira Gitler.
Recording information: Avatar Studios, New York, NY (07/21/2008-07/22/2008).
Photographer: Nick Ruechel.
Jazz masters like James Moody have unjustly gone for several years at a time in the first decade of the 21st century without being recorded, not because they are over the hill or have nothing new to say, but due to the shortsightedness of many record labels. Fortunately, the veteran tenor saxophonist has found a home with IPO, which records him in settings with top-flight musicians in programs of his liking. For his second CD on the label, he's joined by pianist Kenny Barron (a consummate accompanist for any jazz artist), bassist Todd Coolman, and drummer Lewis Nash (the latter two both seasoned artists and bandleaders in their own right). The set list is filled with standards that have likely been part of Moody's repertoire for ages, with the possible exception of Barron's enticing post-bop vehicle "Voyage," which seems to appeal to everyone who works with the pianist and quite a few artists who haven't yet had the opportunity. Moody takes it at a more gradual pace than typical for most recordings, though his soulful tenor is filled with acrobatics at times. Moody's tenor is suitably lush in the slightly frisky treatment of "'Round Midnight," with Barron fueling the leader with beautiful backgrounds and Nash switching briefly to mallets when he takes the spotlight. "East of the Sun" is a gorgeous duet with Barron, played with just a touch of melancholy. The playful waltz setting of "Bye Bye Blackbird" is the perfect closing number to yet another outstanding date led by James Moody. ~ Ken Dryden