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  • WDCH
  • Apr. 30, 2005

  • Enduring Saxophone Legend Celebrates More Than Six Decades in the Music Industry


    Concert Generously Sponsored by Washington Mutual; Media Support provided by KKJZ 88.1 FM

    Saxophone great James Moody, one of the jazz world's most enduring figures and a treasure of American culture, celebrates his 80th birthday in grand style with a musical blow out at the Walt Disney Concert Hall on Saturday, April 30, at 8 p.m. Given the celebrated reedman's more-than-six decades in the music industry, the bash, which wraps up the Los Angeles Philharmonic's 2004/2005 Jazz series, promises to be a party of historic measure. Special guests include Bill Cosby, Master of Ceremonies; Nancy Wilson, hostess;
    Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band; and Roy Hargrove, trumpet.
    Moody - known for his signature tune, the soulful, blues-inflected "Moody's Mood For Love" - plays the soprano, alto and tenor saxophones, and flute with a respect for tradition, but delights in discovering new musical paths, making him one of the most expressive figures in modern jazz today. He has performed with a who's who of the jazz world and continues to surprise audiences with his vitality, his innovative style of playing and his great sense of humor. Moody remains one of the most sought after artists for master classes, workshops and lectures because he inspires young talent through his high standard of musicianship and his positive outlook on life, as well as his ability to communicate his experiences in and around the jazz world.
    He was inducted into the International Jazz Hall of Fame, and, in 1998 received the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters Award. As a septuagenarian, he also landed his first-ever acting role, appearing in Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of the best seller, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." Moody explains, "I played the part of 'Mr. Glover,' a gentleman who walks an imaginary dog for 20 years in Savannah."

    JAMES MOODY, born in Georgia on March 26, 1925, and raised in Newark, New Jersey, took up the alto sax, a gift from his uncle, at the age of 16. Within a few years, he fell under the spell of the deeper, more full-bodied tenor saxophone, after hearing Buddy Tate and Don Byas perform with the Count Basie Band in Newark. He launched his career in the late 1940's with Dizzy Gillespie's big band. In 1948 he recorded his first lead album, James Moody and His Bop Men for Blue Note Records. In 1949 he moved to Europe where he recorded Moody's Mood for Love, which became a huge hit in the States. In 1963 he rejoined Gillespie and performed in the trumpeter's quartet until the early 1970s, when he began a 10-year stint in the Las Vegas Hilton Orchestra. He resumed recording in 1985 and received a Grammy nomination for his playing on Manhattan Transfer's Vocalese album. In 1990 Moody and Gillespie received a Grammy nomination for their rendition of Gillespie's "Get the Booty." He celebrated his 75th birthday at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. In January 2004, Moody released a superb album for the Savoy label, Homage, with artists such as Herbie Hancock, Joe Zawinul, Chick Corea and others, dedicating compositions to him. In addition, he also made a guest appearance on an album by Queen Latifah, produced by legendary producer, Arif Mardin, recording his very own signature tune, "Moody's Mood For Love." Moody received an Honorary Doctorate Degree of Humane Letters from Florida Memorial College, was inducted into the international Jazz Hall of Fame and received the prestigious 1998 Jazz Masters Fellowship Award granted by the National Endowment for The Arts.



    Walt Disney Concert Hall

    111 S. Grand Avenue, Los Angeles

    James Moody's 80th Birthday Celebration

    Bill Cosby, Master of Ceremonies

    Nancy Wilson, hostess

    Dizzy Gillespie All-Star Big Band

    Roy Hargrove, trumpet

    An Upbeat Live pre-concert event takes place in BP Hall one hour prior to the performance; it is free to all ticket holders.

    Concert generously sponsored by Washington Mutual; media support provided by KKJZ 88.1 FM

    Tickets ($25 - $80) are on sale now at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office, online at, or via credit card phone order at 323.850.2000. A limited number of $10 rush tickets for seniors and full time students may be available at the Walt Disney Concert Hall box office two hours prior to the performance. Valid identification is required; one ticket per person; cash only. Groups of 12 or more may be eligible for special discounts for selected concerts and seating areas. For all information, please call 323.850.2000.

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  • Contact:

    Adam Crane, 213.972.3422; Cathy Williams, 213.972.3689; photos: 213.972.3034