Thursday, December 30, 2010

In Memorium: Hank Jones, Herb Ellis, and James Moody

memorium jazz
Hank Jones – Herb Ellis – James Moody

Hank Jones: Smoke Gets In Your Eyes


Herb Ellis: Sweet Georgia Brown


James Moody: Moody's Mood For Love


The world lost three major American jazz legends in 2010. Hank Jones was 91 at his death, Herb Ellis, 88, and James Moody, 85. All three began their long careers just after World War II in the mid 40's, and all three continued playing and recording well into the 90's and later—Moody recorded a new CD just this year.

Hank Jones, brother of equally famous and talented Thad and Elvin, was a pianist who worked mainly in New York City. Among many of the artists he recorded with are Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Cannonball Adderley, Coleman Hawkins, Benny Goodman, and Lester Young. The song featured here is a solo effort on a CD by his intermittent group, the Great Jazz Trio, from their 2004 album, Someday My Prince Will Come.

Herb Ellis, guitarist, was another post-WWII musician who toured and recorded with Ella, as well as Jimmy Dorsey, Billie Holiday, and Charlie Byrd, but he was best known as a member of the Oscar Peterson Trio in the 50's. This version of Sweet Georgia Brown is from the 1980 self-titled album of the Monty Alexander (piano), Ray Brown (bass), and Herb Ellis Trio.

James Moody was a saxophonist best known for his 1949 hit song, Moody's Mood For Love, an improvisation of I'm in the Mood for Love. Moody was a long-time collaborator of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie but also played with Miles Davis, Lionel Hampton, and Eddie Jefferson. I'm spotlighting his hit, although I'm not sure if this was the 1949 version or (more likely) a later remake.

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