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Mose Allison: Substance and Style

R.J. DeLuke By

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"The category that I'm usually put in with is like Dave Frishberg and Bob Dorough. Because we were all jazz players and we were all around New York in the late 50s and early 60s. They're friends of mine. But we're different as well. There's a lot of difference in our styles. So I don't know.

"I'm still waitin' to get a fair appraisal," he says in a smiling tone. "I don't know whether it'll happen or not. Maybe after I'm dead in 30 years or so."

Ever since the world ended
I don't go out as much.
People that I once befriended
just don't bother to stay in touch.
Things that used to seem so splendid
Don't really matter today.
It's just as well the world ended
It wasn't working anyway


With a new live CD out recently [The Mose Chronicles—Live in London, Volume 1 ] and a second one coming (Volume 2), you can expect to hear and see more of Mose. His touring schedule is still strong.

"I do some concerts. At the moment, I'm being helped a lot by a gig I play in London, which is Pizza Express," says Mose about the venue where his live CD was recorded. "I play there six weeks a year, six nights a week. It's the only place in the world I've ever been, ever seen, ever heard about where a jazz player can work six weeks a year. Two three-week engagements a year, six nights a week. There's never been anything like it in this country.

"In Europe, it's mostly one-nighters. There's very few clubs that go more than one or two nights. Pizza Express has been a real godsend for me. I've been working there for several years, six weeks a year. You can go to work every night and play. It's a nice little club. It's just about the right size for me, about 150 people.

"Of course I still have my clubs here that I work in the US. I get some concerts. With the people I know over the years, I get some jobs just from somebody that's been a fan a long time, or with a musician I've played with a long time. Everything figured in together, I usually stay pretty busy."

He could rest on his laurels after 50 years, but like so many jazz musicians, staying busy is just part of life's routine.

"I haven't stopped and I don't plan on stoppin' any time soon," Mose avows.

"So far, so good. I still dig playin' and I enjoy it. I think I learn more about it all the time."

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