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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, ...



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