Sad news this Friday, as jazz saxophonist James Moody died of pancreatic cancer. He was 85 years old.
He was best known for his hit, “Moody’s Mood for Love”, a tune best remembered as the closing theme for Frankie Crocker’s afternoon show at WBLS 107.5 FM in New York. The song was later recorded by Aretha Franklin, Van Morrison, Amy Winehouse and others. Bill Cosby, a longtime fan and confidante, called it a “national anthem.”
Moody played with Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie during the late 1940’s. In addition to the alto sax, he also added the flute to his repertoire and helped to establish Moody as recording artist in his own right.
In 2005, the Moodys established the Moody Scholarship Fund at the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College-SUNY; the first Moody Scholars, named in 2007, are saxophonist Andrew Gould and trumpeter Maxilmilien Darche. Moody was also an NEA Jazz Master and often participated in educational programming and outreach, including with the International Association for Jazz Education, or IAJE.
In addition to his wife, Linda; he’s also survived by his daughter Michelle Bagdanove, sons Patrick, Regan and Danny McGowan, brother Lou Watters, four grandchildren and one great grandson.
Here’s an interview by the late great saxophonist describing how “Moody’s Mood…” came about.
Here’s a vocal version by singer, King Pleasure.
Finally, here’s the original version, sung live by Moody, accompanied by the legendary trumpeter, Dizzy Gillespie.
“James, you can come in and you can blow now if you want to. We’re thru!”