Stymied for fresh harmonies? Check this out!



About twenty years ago, pre-internet, I spent some time with some of the early bulletin board systems (BBS)  – GEnie, AppleLink, later eWorld (which became AOL). It was cheaper to be online through my old 300-baud modem (later upgraded to 1200 baud!) at night, so I became a bit more of a night owl than I could be today. On Sunday nights one of the local radio stations played a broadcast from a local gospel Chicago Southside church. The preacher was active, and very animated. His presentation was much enhanced by the organist. The organist improvised under the preacher’s delivery and followed the emotion of his delivery. He played a Hammond B3, I’m sure, not a pipe organ. He certainly knew his volume pedal and drawbars, though. He made the radio broadcast one I really looked forward to every week!

Well, I always wished I had some idea what he was playing. Now, it’s possible to not only know what kind of stuff he did, but learn how to reharmonize  melodies in a variety of jazz, R&B and gospel styles. The man who put it all together is Gregory Moody, keyboardist and computer programmer, who has the right blend of talents to develop a matrix of these kinds of chord substitutions. His web site is  www.gospel-chords.com. His material is available as DVD video instruction and as a series of textbooks. I’ve read the first book, and it gives a good introduction to the system Moody has devised. I’m going to check out the subsequent volumes as I have the time.

Incidentally, Gregory Moody is the cousin of the late, great tenor saxophonist James Moody.


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