‘Last Train From Overbrook,’ James Moody


The cover of the James Moody album, “Last Train From Overbrook.”

“Last Train From Overbrook,” by jazz saxophonist and composer James Moody, starts off in chugging mode, and never lets up. It’s a brisk, almost bursting-at-the-seams instrumental, which makes sense, given the circumstances under which it was recorded.

Moody, who was raised in Newark and lived in the Newark area for much of his life, spent several months at the Overbrook psychiatric hospital in Cedar Grove in 1958; he was struggling with alcoholism, according to his 2010 New York Times obituary. In “Last Train From Overbrook,” you can feel the pent-up energy; he can’t wait, it seems, to get on with his life.

“Last Train From Overbrook” became the title track of an album Moody released in ’58. He had established himself as an important jazz artist before then, and remained a widely respected and much-loved performer for decades afterwards. When the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark created its ambitious jazz fest, three years ago, it named it the TD James Moody Democracy of Jazz Festival.

This year’s edition of the Moody fest just got underway on Sunday.

New Jersey celebrated its 350th birthday in 2014. And in the 350 Jersey Songs series, we marked the occasion by posting 350 songs — one a day, from September 2014 to September 2015 — that have something to do with the state, its musical history, or both. To see the entire list, click here.

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Phyllis White February 6, 2018 - 3:00 pm

Great JAZZ!!!!! Like Moody’s Mood for love.
Love the hard driving beginning of train sound in “Overbrook.

Blockchords Red November 2, 2018 - 6:00 pm

who do I have to kill to find out who the musicians are on this great track? I’ve looked all over the place with no success.

njartsdaily@gmail.com November 2, 2018 - 6:17 pm

Album credits from Wikipedia:

James Moody – tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, flute
Flip Ricard, Earl Turner, Sonny Cohn – trumpet
Ethel Merker – french horn on Last Train from Overbrook [4]
John Avant – trombone
Bill Atkins, Lenny Druss – alto saxophone
Vito Price, Sandy Mosse, Eddie Johnson – tenor saxophone
Pat Patrick – baritone saxophone
Junior Mance – piano
Floyd Morris – piano [5]
Johnny Pate – bass
John Gray – guitar
Red Holt – drums

Richard Hoe July 11, 2021 - 11:45 pm

I remember wearing this LP out when I was in the navy on the USS INDEPENDENCE (CVA 62) in 58 to 60–“Last Train From Overbrook” is one of my fave all-time pieces. Moody makes one feel the train, and feel Overbrook and freedom too. Richard Hoe

Shirley December 31, 2021 - 4:21 pm

Does anyone know who did the Band arrangemnts for this album?

Michael Dett September 24, 2022 - 3:34 pm

It was my first album from late brother Johnny when I was a teen, from there was Miles to John and all the way to Tapscott, with so many in between. Thanks to all Jazz players, God bless Pharoah.


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