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Winner of two 2013 Emmy Awards from the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences

Today in Georgia History
is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.

March 26

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James Moody

March 26, 1925 - Savannah, Milledgeville
The man had sax appeal: tenor, alto, and soprano.

James Moody, born in Savannah in 1925, began playing the saxophone at 16, despite being hard of hearing. After an Army Air Force hitch in World War II, he joined Dizzy Gillespie’s big band, mastering and helping create the complex, challenging new jazz called be-bop. His sax solo version of “I’m in the Mood for Love” was re-recorded with lyrics as “Moody’s Mood For Love” by King Pleasure in 1954 in the vocalese style that involved adding words to an instrumental. It was a monster hit, and became Moody’s standard.

Moody traveled many musical roads over the course of his 50-year career; he received four Grammy nominations, the Kennedy Center’s Living Jazz Legend Award, and appeared in the film Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, set and shot in his hometown. He won a posthumous Grammy in 2010.

The man who recorded “Savannah Calling” to honor his birthplace was born on March 26, 1925, Today in Georgia History.

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20th century, music, jazz, World War II, grammy, saxophone, Culture

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Fast Fact

"James Moody Day" has been declared in Savannah, Ga.; San Diego; New York City and Newark, N.J.

GHS Finding Aids

James Moody photograph by Herman Leonard