403

Mose Allison: Gimcracks and Gewgaws

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
In person, Mose Allison walks through the audience having a good time, meeting people and enjoying conversations prior to sitting down at the piano. Loose and relaxed, you'd never know he was the featured performer if you hadn't seen his photograph, and Allison seems to feel that everyone is his best friend. That message comes across in his music, too, of course. This latest release is 45 minutes of Allison's dry wit, his matching piano and vocal styles, and some tasteful soloing by Russell Malone and newcomer Mark Shim. The pianist's left hand hammers out a one-two rhythm that would seem to make a bassist unnecessary, but instead Allison employs bassists who can contribute much more than that. Ratzo Harris begins the title track with a loose washtub sound on his bass that introduces drummer Paul Motian's New Orleans shuffle rhythm, and together the ensemble provides music for listening, dancing, and for just nodding along.

Allison's piano delivery on "Somebody Gonna Have To Move (you're standing on my toe)" offers a continuous one-two rhythm behind a right-hand motion that twists and turns unexpectedly. Again, the piano work on "Fires of Spring" becomes intense with a full animated keyboard attack that simulates the lyric's intent; the tune refers to the Spring sunshine that annually brings new life and motion to our world. Guitarist Malone and tenor saxophonist Shim share the solo spotlight without pyrotechnics and with genuine charm. Malone stretches out admirably on "Cruise Control," "The More You Get (the more you've got to lose)," "What Will It Be (that puts you in your casket)," and "St. Louis Blues." Shim offers his trademark clear deep tone on "Gimcracks and Gewgaws," "MJA Jr," "So Tired," "Mockingbird," and "What's With You."

The deeply sentimental ballad "Texanna" pays tribute to "mother and wife / Did you really belong / Am I singing your song," with heartfelt emotion. Harris' bowed bass, Motian's brushes, and the drifting piano accompaniment offer a serene backdrop for the somber lyrics. Conversely, and with a tongue-in-cheek deadpan, the singer weaves intentionally out of tune on "Mockingbird" as Allison's lyrics point toward the bird that mimics calls of others: "Do you have your little rights and wrongs / Do you feel, are you real." And very unlike the mockingbird, Mose Allison continues to provide his own style of lyric, his own blues-drenched vocals, and well-crafted instrumental support. Recommended.


Track Listing: MJA Jr.; Gimcracks and Gewgaws; Numbers on Paper; Cruise Control; St. Louis Blues; Mockingbird; The More You Get; Texanna; What Will It Be; So Tired; Somebody Gonna Have To Move; Fires of Spring; What's With You; Old Man Blues.

| Record Label: Blue Note Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Live at PafA CD/LP/Track Review Live at PafA
by Matthew Aquiline
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Ocean of Storms CD/LP/Track Review Ocean of Storms
by Troy Dostert
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Transparent Water CD/LP/Track Review Transparent Water
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 20, 2017
Read Billows Of Blue CD/LP/Track Review Billows Of Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 20, 2017
Read "What's Wrong" CD/LP/Track Review What's Wrong
by John Sharpe
Published: December 2, 2016
Read "Lovers" CD/LP/Track Review Lovers
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 23, 2016
Read "No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979" CD/LP/Track Review No Coming, No Going – The Music of Peter Kuhn 1978-1979
by John Sharpe
Published: August 5, 2016
Read "From Here to There" CD/LP/Track Review From Here to There
by Mark F. Turner
Published: September 11, 2016
Read "Cada Fuego Es El Primero" CD/LP/Track Review Cada Fuego Es El Primero
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 20, 2016
Read "Functioning Broke" CD/LP/Track Review Functioning Broke
by Doug Collette
Published: July 3, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!