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Mose Allison


Mose Allison was born in the Mississippi Delta on his grandfathers farm near the village of Tippo. At five he discovered he could play the piano by ear and began picking out blues and boogie tunes he heard on the local jukebox. In high school he listened to the music of Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, and his prime inspiration, Nat Cole of the King Cole Trio. He played trumpet in the marching and dance bands and started writing his own songs.

After a year at the University of Mississippi, he went to the Army in l946, playing in the Army Band in Colorado Springs and performing with accomplished musicians from around the country in small groups at NCO and Officers clubs. Returning to Ole Miss he joined the dance band as arranger, piano and trumpet player, but shortly left to form his own trio, playing piano and singing in a style heavily influenced by Nat Cole, Louis Jordan and Erroll Garner. After a year on the road, Mose married, returned to college at Louisiana State University and graduated in 1952 with a BA in English and Philosophy.

He worked in nightclubs throughout the Southeast and West, blending the raw blues of his childhood with modern pianistic influences of John Lewis, Thelonius Monk and Al Haig. His vocal style was influenced by blues singers Percy Mayfield and Charles Brown. Arriving in New York in 1956, Mose received encouragement, work and a record date from Al Cohn. In 1957 he secured his own first recording contract with Prestige Records, recording Back Country Suite, a collection of pieces evoking the Mississippi Delta, released to unanimous critical acclaim. Mose went on to play and record with jazz greats Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Gerry Mulligan as well as with his own Mose Allison Trio.

Mose continued working with his own trio, writing and singing his own songs. His songs are a fusion of rustic blues and jazz, embellished with profound and often humorous lyrics. As a pianist, while admiring jazz masters Bud Powell and Lenny Tristano, he also learned from composers such as Bartok, Ives, Hindemith and Ruggles. The fusing of these diverse elements into a cohesive performance continues today. A biography, One Mans Blues: The Life and Music of Mose Allison, written by Patti Jones, was published in 1995 by Quartet Books Ltd. Of London.

Mose continues to write and perform all over the world. His songs have been covered by Van Morrison, John Mayall, The Who, The Clash, Eric Clapton, the Yardbirds, Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt to name a few. Van Morrison recorded a tribute album, Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison, on Verve Records, and rockers like Pete Townshend, Bonnie Raitt, Ray Davies and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones have frequently cited Mose Allison as a major influence.

His most recent Grammy nomination was for one of his two newest recordings, Mose Chronicles, Live in London, Vol. I on Blue Note Records. Mose Chronicles, Vol II was just released last year. Also, British born Director Paul Barnays has produced a one hour documentary on Mose, entitled Mose Allison; Ever Since I Stole the Blues, for the BBC4 in the UK. Among recent releases are a dozen reissues on CD including Allison Wonderland and a double CD retrospective on Rhino, and High Jinks, a three CD package on Legacy. Blue Note has also re-released a collection of past recordings, Mose Allison, Jazz Profiles. His music has often been used in movies, and he can be seen performing in the recently released movie, The Score, starring Robert DeNiro and Marlon Brando.

Mose resides on Long Island with his wife Audre where they raised four children: Alissa, an attorney, John, a telecommunication specialist, Janine, a psychiatrist, and Amy Allison, also a successful and respected singer songwriter in New York with her own group.

As one writer recently said: Mose is now at the peak of his performing career. Although maybe this last statement is not quite true as he seems to continue to improve on perfection.


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Quinsin Nachoff, Jimmy Smith, and Wadada Leo Smith

Read "Quinsin Nachoff, Jimmy Smith, and Wadada Leo Smith" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

This episode features some exploratory music from Quinsin Nachoff and Trevor Dunn, organ jazz from Jimmy Smith and Sigurdur Flosason, and electric jazz-rock wanderings from Wadada Leo Smith. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air (Mosaic) 00:00 Mose ...


Article: Interview

A Classic Jazz Curriculum with Label M's Joel Dorn

Read "A Classic Jazz Curriculum with Label M's Joel Dorn" reviewed by Chris M. Slawecki

This article was first published at All About Jazz in April 2001. Ah, the classics. In every art form painting, literature, architecture, dance, music there are works which possess timeless beauty, works with themes that resonate emotionally across decades, through centuries, and are masterfully presented. Joel Dorn's name is indelibly written in ...


Soho Scene '57: Jazz Goes Mod

Label: Rhythm & Blues Records
Released: 2023


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Les McCann, Phil Markowitz, Melba Liston & Audrey Ochoa

Read "Les McCann, Phil Markowitz, Melba Liston & Audrey Ochoa" reviewed by Joe Dimino

We begin the 822nd episode of Neon Jazz with Canadian trombonist Audrey Ochoa and music from her 2023 album The Head of a Mouse. From there, we hear from the legendary Melba Liston. As the hour continues, we dig into new music from Joe Alterman, Chris Lee, Andrew Rathbun and Kelly Jefferson. In between, we drop ...


News: Event

Sol Roots Performs For Blackrock Center For The Arts Concert Series on July 8, 2023

Sol Roots Performs For Blackrock Center For The Arts Concert Series on July 8, 2023

On Saturday July 8, the Sol Roots band brings a blend of New Orleans influenced funk, heartfelt jazz and soul, deep blues and hypnotic rhythms as part of BlackRock Center for the Arts' popular outdoor concert series! Come with friends for delicious food, cool drinks, socialize, or bring your own picnic, and enjoy an refreshing outdoor ...


Article: Radio & Podcasts

Pianists and More Pianists

Read "Pianists and More Pianists" reviewed by Jerome Wilson

This episode features pianists from many corners of the jazz world as soloists and bandleaders. The players heard include Vijay Iyer, Jaki Byard, Duke Ellington, Lafayette Gilchrist, and Martin Bejerano. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air (Mosaic) ...


Article: Book Excerpts

A Life In Music

Read "A Life In Music" reviewed by Wulf Muller

The following is an excerpt from the Chapter “1996," from Wulf Müllers illustrated chronicle A Life In Music (Amazon Direct Publishing, 2022) Dee Dee Bridgewater performed three sold out nights at the glamorous and legendary Paris venue L'Olympia, with new signing to Verve France, singer Jeffery Smith, opening for her. Dee Dee's show ...

News: Recording

Mose Allison: Live 1978

Mose Allison: Live 1978

There are plenty of post-war jazz songwriter-pianists who work overtime to be with-it. Some come off as Beat poets and cool daddy-o's while others strain to be clever phrase-turners and honky-tonk players. For me, there are only two truly hip originals—Thelonious Monk and Mose Allison. Monk and Mose each had a distinct sound that was both ...


Live 1978

Label: Liberation Hall
Released: 2022
Track listing: Lost Mind; Wildman on the Loose; Your Molecular Structure; It Feels So Good; Swingin' Machine; You Can Count on Me to My Part; I Live the Life I Love; If You're Going Up to the City; Hey Good Lookin'; Meet Me at No Special Place; Seventh Son; Your Mind Is on Vacation; Wildman/Show Closer.


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