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Mose Allison, RIP

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2016 claims another: Jazz and blues great Mose Allison, who died at his Hilton Head, SC home on Tuesday. He was 89. From the New York Times:

Mr. Allison began his professional career as a piano player, at a time when his style — percussive and jaunty, carried along by a percolating beat — suited the sound of the jazz mainstream. In addition to leading his own trio, he worked with some of the major small-group bandleaders of the late 1950s, including the saxophonists Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan.

But he found greater success, and a singular niche, as a singer of his plain-spoken, pungently observant songs, beginning in the early ’60s. For the next 50 years he worked almost exclusively as the leader of his own groups.

Mr. Allison used his cool, clear voice to conversational effect, with an easy blues inflection that harked back to his upbringing in rural Mississippi. Backing himself at the piano, he favored a loose call and response between voice and instrument, or between right and left hands, often taking tangents informed by the complex harmonies and rhythmic feints of bebop. His artistic persona, evident in his stage manner as well as his songs, suggested a distillation of folk wisdom in a knowing but unpretentious package.

Rest in peace, Mose. Your music lives on.

Listen to Mose Allison Sings below.

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