Mose Allison Biography

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Mose John Allison Jnr., 11 November 1927, Tippo, Mississippi, USA. Allison began piano lessons at the age of five, and played trumpet in high school, although he has featured the latter instrument less frequently in recent years. His music is a highly individual mix of blues and modern jazz, with influences on his cool, laconic singing and piano-playing ranging from Tampa Red and Sonny Boy ‘Rice Miller’ Williamson to Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, and Thelonious Monk. He moved to New York in 1956 and worked mainly in jazz settings, playing with Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Gerry Mulligan, and recording for numerous companies. During the 60s, Allison’s work was much in evidence as he became a major influence on the burgeoning R&B scene. Pete Townshend, one of his greatest fans, recorded Allison’s ‘A Young Man’s Blues’ for the Who’s Live At Leeds. Similarly, John Mayall was one of dozens who recorded his classic ‘Parchman Farm’, and Georgie Fame featured many Allison songs in his heyday with the Blueflames (Fame’s nasal and understated vocal was similar to Allison’s). In the 80s, Allison saw a resurgence in his popularity after becoming a hero to the new, young audience hungry for his blend of modern jazz. In 1996, he collaborated with Fame, Van Morrison and Ben Sidran on his own tribute album, Tell Me Something: The Songs Of Mose Allison. Ultimately, however, his work is seen as hugely influential on other performers, and this has to a degree limited the profile afforded his own lengthy recording career.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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