James Moody's Grammy win tonight is a beautiful thing, but long overdue.
The last of the original generation of bebop masters, Moody died in December at age 85, just two months too early for him to appreciate the honor.
Nevertheless, the award decision is heartening.
It affirms that we in the jazz arena, unlike the rest of the youth-obsessed music industry, celebrate our pioneering elders above all.
And it proves -- believe it! -- that melody, warmth, swing and soul are still relevant.
In fact, they may just be what matters most.
Some of my favorite nuggets of James Moody wisdom...
Moody on Race:
"There's only one country. Mankind is one. All that stuff about different races—about your kind and my kind—that's bullshit."
Moody on Technique:
"It's a challenge constantly. I've had a saxophone for over 50 years and I still can't play it. Some days I wake up and say, 'Hello,' and the saxophone says, 'I don't know you.' But I keep at it."
Moody on Bandleading:
"A lot of times when you go somewhere to work, they put you with people who they think will work well together. That doesn't go. A band is like a marriage. Can't nobody pick a wife for you. You've gotta do it yourself. Only you know what you like, man."
Moody on Ego:
"Blessed are those who run around in circles, for they shall be called Big Wheels."
Moody on Music:
"Practice, work hard, but then let God take over. Jazz is a spiritual music. Remember, when you play music, you're praying. And most of all, learn to love yourself."
James Moody Discography