Jesse “Jay" Moody, III was born in Baltimore, Maryland. At an early age he developed an interest in music and began playing the drums at age nine. Jesse recalls, “I would bang on anything… tables, windows, whatever could make a sound! During his public school years Jesse played in various funk and gospel groups. Once he was enrolled at Towson State University in 1981 (now Towson University) his whole musical world changed. Jesse quickly wanted to learn jazz as the school had a reputation for having one of the best jazz programs in the country. He recalls, “there were such great musicians there at the time, like trumpeter Tommy Williams, drummer Adrian Green, and bassist Paul Gill".
In 1985, Jesse landed his first jazz gig with the Lewis Hamlin Big Band, an eighteen piece band that played a variety of styles of music, from swing to funk. “That was a great experience because I had to learn various styles of music”. Later, Jesse joined the Gene Walker Big Band in 1990, also known as Baltimore’s Big Band. Jesse has recorded with several artists, most recently with Lea Gilmore and Classically Blue, Live at the Eubie Blake Center. Jesse has won several awards in his career. Jesse performed at the 2015 Congressional Black Caucus sharing the stage with President Barrack Obama.
In his career as a sideman Jesse has been performed and/or recorded with some of the finest musicians in the world, such as Billy Harper, Rufus Reid, Barry Harris, Dr. Eddie Henderson, Cecil McBee, Eddie Gomez, Benito Gonzalez, Curtis Fuller, Freddie Jackson, Eddie Levert, Jean Carne, Jeff Majors, Cyruss Chestnutt, Larry Willis, Howard Burns, Terry Battle, Mitchell Coates, Frank Wess, Sonny Cohen, Buster Cooper, George Cables, Paul Bollenback, George Culligan, Moe Daniels, Michael Raitzyk, Gary Thomas, Tommy Williams, Greg Hatza, Gary Grainger, Benjie Porecki, Maysa Leake, Lou Donladson, Donte Winslow, Greg Thompkins, Lafayette Gilchrist, Marshall Keys, Greg Boyer and many more. Jesse has been on numerous television and radio shows, including a film appearance in the Barry Levinson film, Avalon.