Saxophonist James Moody (1925 – 2010)
Saxophonist and flutist James Moody was born on this day in Savannah, Georgia, in 1925. After an early stint with the Dizzy Gillespie bebop orchestra, Moody ventured out to form several outstanding ensembles under his own name. He landed a recording contract at Blue Note Records in 1948, pressing the album James Moody and His Modernists, which featured arrangements by Gil Evans. In 1949, after relocating to Europe, Moody recorded a version of the tune “I’m in the Mood for Love” during a stop in Sweden. The solo would later catch the ear of vocalist Eddie Jefferson, who, in 1952, released a vocalese version of the track that paired Moody’s original improvisation with Jefferson’s lyrics. The song became a hit, and in 1956, Moody and Jefferson wound up recording the song together. We present it to you as today’s Song of the Day below. The tune has since been covered by stars ranging from George Benson to Amy Winehouse.