James Moody & Nnenna Freelon: Just Squeeze Me


Just Squeeze Me


James Moody (vocals) and Nnenna Freelon (vocals)


Monterey Jazz Festival 50th Anniversary All-Stars (Concord - Monterey Jazz Festival Records MJFR-30433)

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James Moody (vocals), Nnenna Freelon (vocals), Benny Green (piano).

Composed by Duke Ellington


Recorded: Monterey, California, September 23, 2007


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

All-star jazz concerts often collapse into rough-and-ready jam-session theatrics. But fans love them anyway because sometimes they lead to surprises -- and not just for the audience. This onstage meeting between vocalist Nnenna Freelon and saxophonist-and-occasional-singer James Moody is a case in point. Sharing the bandstand at the 50th anniversary edition of the Monterey Jazz Festival, they engage in a singin'-and-scattin' duet on "Just Squeeze Me" that delights them just as much as it entertains the large audience. Freelon is exquisite and keeps her poise (barely) despite Moody's antics. He even tries to throw her off her game with a bit of "Moody's Mood for Love" as unexpected counterpoint. Benny Green plays the straight man to this tomfoolery, holding things together with his stately comping chords. If jazz were always this fun, they might even put it on TV someday.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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