147

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

Craig Jolley By

Sign in to view read count
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 Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard CD/LP/Track Review Just Friends: Live at the Village Vanguard
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio CD/LP/Track Review Introducing the Simon Eskildsen Trio
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Moment Frozen CD/LP/Track Review Moment Frozen
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 19, 2017
Read Minor Step CD/LP/Track Review Minor Step
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 19, 2017
Read A Meeting Of Spirits CD/LP/Track Review A Meeting Of Spirits
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 18, 2017
Read First Light CD/LP/Track Review First Light
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 18, 2017
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "Liquid Melodies" CD/LP/Track Review Liquid Melodies
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 1, 2017
Read "This Is Nate Najar" CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read "Magia" CD/LP/Track Review Magia
by Mark Sullivan
Published: November 6, 2016
Read "New Helsinki" CD/LP/Track Review New Helsinki
by Roger Farbey
Published: April 8, 2017
Read "The Time Verses" CD/LP/Track Review The Time Verses
by Geannine Reid
Published: April 1, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.