Saxophonist and NEA Jazz Master James Moody tells the story behind one of jazz’s most famous solos—his 1949 interpretation of the Jimmy McHugh classic “I’m in the Mood for Love”—in this 2000 interview. The solo, done in one take during a self-imposed European exile, would take on a new life as a hit song in its own right, with lyrics added later by Eddie Jefferson, and bring Moody back to the country he thought he’d left behind forever. Behind it were Moody’s experiences with racism and discrimination, and the desire, instilled by his mother, “to learn, learn, learn, learn… don’t stand still, move, but grow—spiritually.”
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