Music » Livewire

Mose Allison

Wednesday, October 25, at Nighttown.


A fine blues singer, Mose Allison (who's white) comes from Tippo, Mississippi, so he doesn't have to fake a Southern accent. He's a consistently humorous and sometimes profound lyricist (e.g., "If you feel neglected by someone you love/Even get rejected when push comes down to shove/You think nobody gives a damn 'bout what you're goin' through/Well, one thing you can count on/The earth wants you"). On top of all that, Allison plays very good jazz piano. Born in 1927, Allison got a BA from Louisiana State University in 1950, then worked in Texas and Louisiana with a trio for a few years. He moved to New York in 1956 and played with Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, and the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims band. In 1957, Allison began recording with his trio. His wry, understated vocals and amusing songs gained him pop as well as jazz fans. In fact, the Who recorded his "Young Man's Blues" in 1970. On his latest CD, Gimcracks and Gewgaws (Blue Note), he's cut "Old Man Blues" as a sort of sequel. The piece contains the lines "But in the U.S.A./Where the young man knows how to wheel and deal/The young man's got that sex appeal/The young man is the man of the hour/Thirty-five years of purchasing power/And an old man/Ain't nothing in the U.S.A." Allison's also a unique piano soloist. His playing is dissonant at times, but subtle as well, and he occasionally departs from chord structures to improvise free jazz.

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