Mose Allison: The Musician's Musician

Mose John Allison Jr, or just Mose Allison as we know him, is one the many jazz legends that has contributed to jazz and blues. Born on 11th of November 1927. Mose's fascination with music started when he discovered an ability to replay the tunes that he heard on the jukebox. He took a liking to boogie and blues tunes. He pursued his love for music playing in bands, playing the trumpet in his school band and was even writing his own tunes when he was just in school.

His inspiration at the time were the chartbusters of his time - Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Duke Wellington, Fats Waller and the likes. Even when he joined the army in 1946, he pursued his love for music by playing in bands and entertaining army folks. He played with many of the top musicians and bands nationwide during this period of time.

After he had done his time in the Army, he went back to music and joined a dance band as trumpet player, piano player and arranger. But he moved on from there and went on to form his own band of three who followed the musical styling of his favorite musicians - Nat King Cole and Louis Jordan.

After almost a year of incessant touring, he married his wife and went to college to finish a BA in English and Philosophy. Upon completion of his education, he went back to music and carried on playing in small clubs. His influences grew and to the list were added Mercy Mayfield, Charles Brown, John Lewis, Thelonius Monk and Al Haig.

His hard work paid off as Mose was appreciated and encouraged by his fans. He came to New York like every other musician at the time wanted to to make it big. In 1957, he got himself a recording contract with Prestige Records and recorded his first album - Back Country Suite - which was well appreciated and got critical acclaim. The success saw him perform with more of the greats of his time including his own Mose Allison Trio.

Then on it's just history in the making, with Mose Allison breaking more barriers and pushing the bill further each time. He inspired many a great artiste just like he was inspired when he started out. His music is the best combination blues, jazz and some very good lyrics - mostly humorous. Mose Allison is admired because he got all these three together in the just the right proportion which only speaks of his genius. The Who's Pete Townsend and ex Rolling Stone Bill Wyman have quoted him as their inspiration.

All the top artists of the world in all genres have covered his songs - the most revered among whom are Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, The Yardbirds and Bonnie Raitt. Blues singer Van "The Man" Morrison has even recorded an entire album in tribute to the man titled Tell Me Something, The Songs of Mose Allison in 1995. A one hour documentary Mose Allison; Ever Since I Stole the Blues directed by Paul Barnays was testimony to the fact that the intricateness and the intimateness of his music has to date made him the most well known jazz musician in the UK.

His Live 2001 release Mose Chronicles, Live in London, Vol.I won him a Grammy. The follow-up volume was his last release but there have been re-releases of his music in the past few years. A 2006 Long Island Music Hall Of Fame inductee, Mose, now in his 80th year, is still performing worldwide.

Mose's present residence is on Long Island,New York where he stays with his wife of more than 57 years. They have together have four children. Their daughter Allisa is an attorney while their other daughter is country star Amy Allison. They have one more daughter Janine is a working psychiatrist while the couples only son John is a Telecommunication specialist.

There have been many tributes to Mose Allison in many forms. While they will keep on coming, we can be sure that the 80 year old Allison is only going to play better and better while he tries to give himself room for improvement.


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