Jazz Great James Moody Dead at 85

Jazz world mourns veteran saxophonist
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2010 4:25 AM CST
Jazz Great James Moody Dead at 85
James Moody, left, plays with Cuban conga player Chano Pozo and legendary American jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in 1948.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) – Beloved jazzman James Moody has died in San Diego at the age of 85. The saxophonist, flutist, band leader, and composer had a distinguished career in jazz that began in Dizzy Gillespie's band just after World War II and lasted well into the 21st century. Moody, famed for his versatility, dexterity, and ebullient stage persona, died after a 10-month battle with pancreatic cancer, reports the San Diego Tribune.

"My heart is heavy with the news of the passing of my mentor, colleague, and brother James Moody," said longtime friend and collaborator Quincy Jones. "James Moody had a sound, an imagination, and heart as big as the moon." Bill Cosby—who described the jazzman's greatest hit, Moody’s Mood for Love, as a "national anthem"—said Moody was a personal role model as well as a great musician. "He has taught me integrity, how to express love for your fellow human beings, and how to combine and contain manhood and maturity," he said. (Read more James Moody stories.)

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