147

Joe Mooney: The Happiness of ... the Greatness of ...

Craig Jolley By

Sign in to view read count
Joe Mooney: The Happiness of ... the Greatness of ... Joe Mooney's music has enjoyed something of a rediscovery during the last few years with virtually all his recordings now available. Lush Life (Atlantic, mid-50's) came out a couple of years ago on Koch. Last year the English HEP label reissued his late 40's Decca sessions together with some air checks on a couple of wonderful CD's. This release combines his last two records (Columbia, mid-60's). Personally I wouldn't want to do without any of them.

As a performer Mooney was equal parts vocalist and keyboard player: organ, accordion, and piano in order of preference. He can be seen as part of a tradition that includes Bob Dorough, Blossom Dearie, and the contemporaneous King Cole Trio.

On the first twelve cuts ( The Happiness of ... ) Mooney is backed by rhythm and reeds arranged by Mundell Lowe. The other tunes are by Mooney's classic quartet (with reed, guitar, and bass) plus vibes and whispering drums, both superfluous. Dodgion (flute) and Lowe get a few short solos, but the accompanying musicians mostly stay in the background, professionally reading parts. Lowe's uncluttered reed arrangements with their swinging riffs and clarinet voicings complement the vocals and organ breaks effectively. Mooney's hip lines behind himself especially on organ are always on target.

Mooney's music is notable for humor, swing, good spirits, and surprise. His timing is unmatched. The repertoire here is decent pop tunes of the 60's mixed with earlier vintage standards. Whatever the tune he had a knack for making it his. He overcame trite lyrics and somehow gave them meaning. He would tactfully alter a note here or there, sometimes change words, sometimes shift accents. He would invariably end up with something completely natural sounding and way beyond the original. The ususally stagy, unconvincing "What Kind of Fool Am I" actually makes sense at a bright tempo sung rhetorically with the Mooney touch. He treats Johnny Mandel's "Emily" conversationally over a Latin rhythm with pauses (unnoticeable) The sound is 60's stereo, and it is just fine.


Track Listing: 1. Wait Till You See Her 2. But Beautiful, 3. The Second Time Around, 4. I Wish You Love, 5. Call Me Irresponsible, 6. Nobody Else But Me, 7. Once Upon A Summertime, 8. Lollipops And Roses, 9. This Is All I Ask, 10. What Kind Of Fool Am I, 11. Days Of Wine And Roses, 12. The Good Life, 13. Cute, 14. When I Fall In Love, 15. Emily, 16. You Irritate Me So, 17. I Wonder What Became Of Me, 18. Honeysuckle Rose, 19. Happiness Is You, 20. She's Not For You, 21. I Wanna Be Around, 22. When The World Is At Rest, 23. When Sunny Gets Blue, 24. This Is The Life

Personnel: Joe Mooney - vocal, organ, accordion, piano, arranger; Mundell Lowe - arranger, guitar; Gene Allen, Al Klink, Walt Levinsky, Phil Bodner, Andy Fitzgerald, Don Ashworth, Leon Cohen, Jerry Dodgion - reeds; Gary Burton, Phil Kraus, Joe Venuto - vibes; Barry Galbraith - guitar; George Duvivier - bass; Eddie Shaughnessy - drums.

Title: The Happiness of ... the Greatness of ... | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: KOCH International Jazz


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Eleven Cages CD/LP/Track Review Eleven Cages
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Afro-Caribbean Mixtape CD/LP/Track Review Afro-Caribbean Mixtape
by Mark F. Turner
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Wake Up Call CD/LP/Track Review Wake Up Call
by Jack Bowers
Published: June 27, 2017
Read The Late Trane CD/LP/Track Review The Late Trane
by Roger Farbey
Published: June 27, 2017
Read Developing Story CD/LP/Track Review Developing Story
by Edward Blanco
Published: June 26, 2017
Read Lantern CD/LP/Track Review Lantern
by John Kelman
Published: June 26, 2017
Read "Near Life Experience" CD/LP/Track Review Near Life Experience
by John Kelman
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Hauptbahnhof" CD/LP/Track Review Hauptbahnhof
by Anthony Shaw
Published: April 4, 2017
Read "Special Night" CD/LP/Track Review Special Night
by Jim Trageser
Published: November 25, 2016
Read "IZA" CD/LP/Track Review IZA
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 17, 2017
Read "One" CD/LP/Track Review One
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 31, 2017
Read "Bridges From The East" CD/LP/Track Review Bridges From The East
by Geannine Reid
Published: June 29, 2016

Smart Advertising!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.