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Mose Allison: Mose Allison: American Legend in California

C. Michael Bailey By

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Track review of "Do Nothin’ Till You Hear From Me"

Tippo, Mississippi is about as far from Charleston as it is Tutwiler, the two county seats of Tallahatchie County, located on the northeastern edge of the alluvial Delta plain, before the land turns to rolling hills. There lives in Tippo, an Allison family, who thirty years ago were patients of mine when I was practicing pharmacy while attending graduate school. That is Allison...as in, Mose Allison. I Mose Allison's mother and brother frequently during the 10 years I kicked around North Mississippi. They were study country folk riding out the latter part of the 20th Century in the comfort and familiarity of their southern home. Not so with Mose. After growing up in Tippo, learning to play the piano at 5, Allison did a stint in the armed forces, attended the University of Mississippi, finally graduating from Louisiana State University in 1952. From there, he moved to New York City to ply his trade as a jazz musician. Over the next 60 years he recorded over 30 albums and composed well known standards like "Parchment Farm" and "Young Man Blues," both covered many times. On January 14, 2013, Allison was honored as a Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts. He has now retired from performing, but not before recording Mose Allison: American Legend in California at 19 Broadway in Fairfax in 2006, at a spry 79 years old.

Allison retained all of his singing and playing facilities late in life. Like his Arkansas counterpart Bob Dorough, he has continued to perform until recently retiring a couple of years ago. On this recording, Allison's is in grand voice. His is a voice that spawned a generation of singers. Little Feat's Fred Tackett told me in an interview that once, when recording with the great {Jimmy Smith}} and Smith remarked that, ..."all you white cats try and sound life Mose Allison." Indeed. A prolific composer, Allison also had is favorite composers, Duke Ellington among them. "Do Nothin' Till You Hear from Me" has been in his playlist almost from the beginning. Allison does not treat the song as the museum piece of some lost master. He performs it from an equal footing with Ellington. Allison's admiration is apparent. He sings with his trademark sense of humor and southern turn-of-phrase. His piano playing remains probing without getting to far out there. Allison is a national and southern treasure and this recording is a nice addition to his discography.

Track Listing:

Personnel: Mose Allison: piano, vocals; Bill Douglass: bass; Pete Magadini: drums.

Title: Mose Allison: American Legend in California | Year Released: 2015 | Record Label: City Hall Records

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