Bahai News - Charlie Parker Honored In Tribute at Caramoor
July 30, 2000
Charlie Parker Honored In Tribute at Caramoor
Mr. Moody referred to Dizzy Gillespie, who pioneered the be-bop style in the
late 40's with Parker. Mr. Moody, who played along side of Mr. Gillespie
from 1946 until his death in 1993, was there when audiences crowded the clubs
on 52nd Street in New York. Of all the talented musicians performing at this
year's festival, Mr. Moody is the only one who played with Parker. On
Saturday the festival celebrates what would be Parker's 80th birthday with
the Sam Rivers Trio, which starts things off at 2 p.m. The Hilton Ruiz Trio
with Chris Potter play at 3:15, Steve Lacy and Mal Waldron at 4:30; Paul
Motian, Joe Lovano and Bill Frisell continue up to the 6:45 p.m. dinner break.
The James Moody Quartet closes the tribute with an 8 p.m. concert.
Mr. Moody, who was born 75 years ago in Savannah, Ga., and raised in Newark,
N.J., didn't take up the alto saxophone until he was 16. He played in a band
during his time in the Air Force. He said he met Mr. Gillespie in Greensboro,
N.C., where Mr. Gillespie was performing. After his discharge later that year,
Mr. Moody joined Mr. Gillespie's band in New York; the group included
Thelonious Monk, Milt Jackson and Miles Davis.
In 1949, Mr. Moody moved to Europe, where he remained until 1952. He said he
intended to overcome his problems with alcohol and Benzedrine while staying
with relatives. He remained to take part in the lively jazz scene in Europe.
''I had no intention of returning because of the prejudice back home,'' said
Mr. Moody. ''I came back because 'Moody's Mood' was a hit.''
''Moody's Mood for Love,'' which was recorded in Sweden, was Mr. Moody's
improvisation on ''I'm in the Mood for Love,'' the popular standard
written by Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields. It became Mr. Moody's
After his return, Mr. Moody performed and recorded with several jazz and pop
His latest recording is ''Moody Plays Mancini'' (Warner Brothers), which
showcases Mr. Moody on all his horns and flute. He also recently landed his
first acting role, appearing in Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of
''Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.''
Just as Mr. Gillespie taught Mr. Moody invaluable lessons more than 50 years
ago, Mr. Moody teaches aspiring musicians through clinics. Mr. Moody said
that young musicians have the advantage of quality jazz programs in several
colleges and universities. That alone, however, isn't the key to success.
''The thing is, anyone can make it in music if they really want it,'' said
Mr. Moody, who is Bahai and considers music a spiritual experience. ''When
I was young, all I thought about was playing saxophone. If someone really
wants to do something, God will provide.''
The James Moody Quartet performs on Saturday at 8 p.m., the closing day of
the Caramoor Jazz Festival. Tickets are $40 a day. The box office can be
reached by calling (914) 232-1252, or visit the Web site at www.caramoor.com.
©Copyright 2000, The New York Times Company
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