James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival

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Country and Region United StatesNew Jersey
Type of Festival Music
Location of Festival Newark, New Jersey, USA
Festival Contact Information

Administrative Office:
One Center Street
Newark, NJ 07102
Phone: +01 973-642-8989

Customer Service:
Email: TicketServices@njpac.org

Festival Description

The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and WBGO Jazz 88.3FM will inaugurate The James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival, a weeklong celebration of jazz and the musical legacy of longtime Newarker and beloved jazz musician James Moody. Grammy Award-winning bassist and composer Christian McBride serves as Artistic Adviser to the Festival, which will take place October 15-21, 2012 at the Arts Center and various community-based venues.

“This Festival will give Newark and the Arts Center the chance to take center stage in the jazz universe and pay homage to one of the great men of music,” said John Schreiber, NJPAC President and CEO, a longtime friend of the Festival’s namesake. “Jazz is the most democratic of musics: great jazz demands collaboration, respect, listening and creativity among musicians. Moody exemplified all those traits in his life and his playing. The James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival will celebrate Moody’s lifelong spirit of collaboration and unconditional love for humanity.”

“Newark-based WBGO Jazz 88.3FM, the metro area’s only 24 hour jazz source, is pleased to be part of the first annual James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival in Newark,” said Cephas Bowles, President and CEO of WBGO. “The Festival will showcase America’s greatest contribution to world culture - jazz - and Newark’s ongoing commitment to the art form. Because of Newark’s world class transportation system, the city and the Festival are easy-to-reach destinations. WBGO looks forward to jazz fans traveling to Newark’s multiple venues for performances by some of the world’s most outstanding jazz artists.”

“This is just very exciting for all of us,” said Linda Moody, the honoree’s widow. “Moody would be so thrilled with the whole idea. Newark was where his life was. He would also be surprised and probably would have said, ‘Why do they want to name a festival after me?’”

Festival Dates November 4 - 10, 2013
Festival Links


Festival Story:

Born in Savannah, Georgia and raised in Newark, James Moody (1925-2010) began his career with Dizzy Gillespie and went on to develop a distinctive style on both tenor and alto saxophone, an unusually rare accomplishment in jazz. He also played soprano saxophone. In the mid 1950s he became one of the first significant jazz flutists.

A National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master and posthumous Grammy winner, Moody joined Gillespie’s big band following a stint in the Air Force. He had his first recording session in 1948 with Blue Note Records and went on to make another two dozen recordings as lead and dozens more as side man with the likes of Gillespie, Milt Jackson, Charles Mingus, Bobby Timmons, Tubby Hayes, and Roberta Gambarini.

His “Moody’s Mood for Love,” became a hit in 1952 and his signature song. In following years, he rejoined Gillespie’s band and worked for a number of years in the Las Vegas Hilton Orchestra backing up artists including Bill Cosby, Elvis Presley, Liberace, and Redd Foxx. His later years were productive, with frequent touring (well into his 80s) and recording and even an acting gig in the 1997 Clint Eastwood film, Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.


Festival Events:

Lineup 2013:
  • November 4 — Opening night
    • Jimmy Heath in concert “Sing, Swing, Sing!” featuring Dianne Reeves, Al Jarreau, Jeffrey Osborne and Cyrille Aimée. d
  • November 5 - 50th anniversary tribute to “Blues People”, book by Amiri Baraka
  • November 7 - tribute concert to Lorraine Gordon, a nightclub proprietor
  • November 10 - Sarah Vaughan International Jazz Vocal Competition finals will take place


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