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INTERVIEWS

Mose Allison: Back in the (Studio) Saddle

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Mose Allison, the singer/songwriter blues/jazz man from the Mississippi Delta, has reached the age of 82. He's packed into that lifetime some 60 years in the music business and on the road. He's still playing more than 100 club and concert dates a year, from New York to California, across the pond in England and elsewhere.He's recorded steadily during those years, his albums all well received in the jazz community by critics and fans alike. But over the last decade or so, Allison became disenchanted with the recording industry and pretty much blew the whole thing off. In ...

ARTIST PROFILES

A Modest Proposal: Joe Henry's Letter-Writing Campaign Results in Mose Allison's First Record in 12 years

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Joe Henry's strategy for coaxing Mose Allison back to the studio for the first time in twelve years was simple enough: All he had to do was quietly and thoughtfully stalk the jazz icon for a year.

“He kept at it, and kept calling me and emailing and so forth," the 82-year-old Allison said of the courting process by Henry, who received two Grammy nominations this month for his production on Allen Toussaint's The Bright Mississippi and Ramblin' Jack Elliott's A Stranger Here. “And so I finally decided, 'Well, what the hell, I haven't done a record in a long ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mose Allison at Nighttown

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Nighttown Cleveland Heights, Ohio August 29, 2009

Mose Allison sings for survivors. He always has. He sings easy, buoyant blues in a lackadaisical style. His voice, while rubbed at the edges from more than 50 years on the road, is still crisp with vaudevillian nonchalance. He accompanies himself with confident, insistent piano vamps drawn as much from Wagner as Waller, and his solos are constantly inventive and invigorating while never straying from the familiar. Moreover, the technical verve hasn't left his fingers.

On this, the second of two nights at Nighttown, Allison and his ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: Mose Allison Sings

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Working through Prestige Records' reissue of Mose Allison Sings, the challenge arises of describing the pianist/vocalist's unique sound. The salty-sweet taste of butter and jam on toast is at once an unspectacular metaphor and right on the mark. Allison's music is a delicious blend of tart and tang, as enjoyable in the morning as it is a late-night snack, simple yet significant, unassuming and infectious. His style is indelibly his own, residing somewhere between the Delta blues of his Mississippi home and the modern jazz he was immersed in upon moving to New York in 1956.

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: Mose Allison Sings

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There's nobody else quite like Mose Allison. Try to think of a musician who even comes close. He's so unique that we all know from the very start who we're listening to. And nobody else can fill that niche. But Allison didn't start out as a singer. He was Stan Getz's pianist in 1956-57, and he began recording for Prestige as a pianist who also played trumpet in 1957. His piano trio did bebop instrumentals, and Allison added an occasional vocal. The blues was always a part of him, though, and that sound has never left him.

Allison ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: Mose Allison Sings

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At first glance, Mose Allison Sings might seem to be just another reissued jazz recording from the 1950s. Like most CDs of this ilk, it has been digitally remastered and has additional “bonus" tracks now possible without the space limitations of vinyl records.

A cynic might use the term “old wine in new bottles" to characterize many of these reissues. There are exceptions, of course, and this album is one. The most compelling reason to reexamine an old album stems from the recognition that there may be much we either have forgotten or did not properly appreciate the first time. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: Ramblin' with Mose

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Through a career spanning a half-century, Mose Allison has been known mostly for his bluesy hipster vocals and comical compositions like “Your Mind is on Vacation, But Your Mouth is Working Overtime. But he's also a fine bebop-flavored pianist who even spent time back in the '50s in the rhythm sections of such jazz titans as Stan Getz, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims. The recently reissued Ramblin' with Mose, originally released in 1958, puts Allison's piano front and center, leading a trio with Addison Farmer on bass and Ronnie Free on drums. There's just one vocal here, ...

LIVE REVIEWS

Mose Allison at Yoshi's

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Is there any living jazz artist so utterly, comprehensively American as Mose Allison? His melting-pot piano style, which seamlessly combines the sounds of back country and big city; his carefree, everyman way of singing; his sly cynicism -- these are all reflections of the national character, and the basis of his five decades of popularity.Allison put both charm and chops on display for a midweek stint at Yoshi's jazz club in Oakland February 8-10, working in a trio setting. The first set of his Wednesday night show drew an appreciative if not energetic audience, just a few seats shy ...

INTERVIEWS

Mose Allison: Substance and Style

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The music of Mose Allison, the slick hipster from the Mississippi delta, never fails to get at least a wry, knowing smile from listeners, if not outright laughter - - on CD or live in a nightclub.Those that know his work--and that audience is growing, he says--are attracted to his simple, bluesy style as well as his witty, observational way with a lyric. He has a warm, deep tone that doesn't have a lot of range, but don't worry about it. It's meant for story telling, not arias. It invites you in. Pull up a chair.Is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: Greatest Hits: The Prestige Collection

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From Tippo, Mississippi to the tip of jazz’s pantheon, Mose Allison has had one of the genre’s most enduring and beloved careers. Now well into his golden years, the honey and chickoree-voiced storyteller continues to reminisce about his beloved South. Among the prevalent themes on this gently sparkling collection are the infamous 12-foot cotton sack and other elements of life on the plantation (including life on the penal farm for spousal homicide). It was a different place and a different age, but Allison sing-songs about it as if he lived it himself. And when he’s not singing about a life ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: The Mose Chronicles: Live In London, Volume 2

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“Tell me something that I don’t know,” sings Mose Allison on one of his tongue-in-cheek originals. Twelve more of his songs and several familiar standards comprise Volume 2 from his recent London appearance. Recorded just over two years ago at the Pizza Express, Allison added guitar for this set. Quirky and original, the singer/pianist carries on the tradition. Blues humor and jazz syncopation make fine companions. Who else do you know that sings about one’s molecular structure, one’s mouth that works overtime, or one’s desire to raise hell on his day off? Well, okay. Maybe that last one expresses a ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: The Mose Chronicles - Live In London, Vol. 1

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With fifty-plus years of performance behind him, the 73 year-old Mose Allison continues to perform 125 shows per year. The Mississippi-born pianist traveled to New York in 1951, but his music has never left the Delta. His brand of blues-inflected jazz was first inspired by Louis Jordan and his piano trio has been heavily influenced by Nat Cole. Like Cole, he began as an instrumentalist but his unique vocals and lyrics created a demand for his vocal appearances. Modern pop musicians like Pete Townshend, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, and Eric Clapton have covered Allison’s songs. His discography is ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: The Mose Chronicles, Volume 1

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Few white performers have captured the soul, heart and emotion of the blues better than Jack Teagarden and Mose Allison. With Volume One in the title as well as the expectations created by the word Chronicles, this release should be the first of other releases by Blue Note documenting the contributions Mose Allison has made to jazz and blues over the more than 40 years of his career.

This album captures a live performance at the Pizza Express in London. Jazz has come to playing pizza parlors. The play list is made up of songs Allison likes to sing, those ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Mose Allison: The Mose Chronicles Volume One

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Mose Allison is amazing. The pianist/singer/songwriter has now been plying his craft for 50 years, and this first volume of The Mose Chronicles, which documents a January 2000 trio gig in London, shows no diminution of his powers.

Start with his piano playing: His ambling runs on “Entruption,” which opens the disc, have the suave rhythmic sophistication of Erik Satie’s piano music, while his harmonic palette is that of a pianist who revels in the joy of his instrument’s tone. His solo on a reharmonized “You Are My Sunshine,” which alludes to both Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell, is a ...



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