Mose Allison (p, vcl, tp), Taylor La Fargue, Addison Farmer (b), Frank Isola, Nick Stabulas, Ronnie Free (d)
Reference: FSRCD 842_3
Bar code: 8427328608428
3 CD Box Set including a 36-page booklet with session details, photos, original art & liner notes.
-Back Country Suite (PR 7091) 1957
-Local Color (PR 7121) 1957
-Young Man Mose (PR 7137) 1958
-Ramblin' with Mose (PR 7215) 1958
-Creek Bank (PR 7152) 1958
-Autumn Song (PR 7189) 1959
This set contains all 65 tracks included in the six albums Mose Allison recorded for Prestige Records (1957-1959). Be it a vocal solo, a piano chorus or an extended composition, Mose Allisons work has one distinguishing characteristicthe complete absence of superfluous notes, frilly passages and gaudy backgrounds. In Moses own words, I played around the Southwest and other places for years and the basic elements of my style were pretty well complete when I got to New York in 1956. I have tried to get a unit sound and I think were succeeding in that vein with the trio.
A native of Tippo, Mississippi, Mose Allison (1927) started piano lessons at five and from his early years listened to and absorbed the music of blues singers. Settling in New York in 1956 after a time on the road, he soon had his own trio, playing piano and singing in a style that reflected no trend, no attempt to emulate anything or anyone, just his own striking personality.
In the process he revealed himself as an artist of profound simplicity. The basis of my jazz conception is the country blues feeling, he said in 1958. In the South Im considered an advanced, be-bop type. In New York, Im considered a country blues, folk type. Actually, I dont think Im either. Maybe a little of both. Clearly, though much of his charm and intrinsic appeal rests on his elemental blues and the homey country feeling of the vocals, when he launches into his distinctive piano solos its jazz through and through.
It was this combination that led Prestige Records to be the first to record him, as the six albums he made for them between 1957 and 1959, all collected here, perfectly illustrate. This is the duality of Mose Allison; it is what sets him apart. Above all, there is the essential characteristic of his music: a relentless, driving energy. I want to grow within my style instead of looking for new devices, he said. And he did.
"Mose Allison is a unique, inimitable and complete artist, although that hasnt stopped a sizeable squad of admirers from borrowing bits of him. His own influences, when he first appeared, seemed so bizarre that mere curiosity probably accounted for some of the attention he attracted. Who could ever have imagined a combination of Nat King Cole, Al Haig, Ray Charles, Willie Dixon, Thelonious Monk, Jimmy Rogers and Sonny Boy Williamson? Six albums in his first three years meant that, odd though the recipe may have seemed at first, it appealed to a lot of people. Those six albums are all contained in this three-CD package.
Interestingly, the first anyone heard of the distinctive Allison voice on record was a brief piece, lasting less than a minute and a half in his Back Country Suite. Its the one that starts: A young man aint nothin in the world these days, and its archetypal Mose - perceptive, laconic and couched in terms that might derive from proverbs or old sayings.
In fact, there are surprisingly few vocal pieces among the 65 tracks. These are mainly piano albums, and here, too, hes recognisable from the start. Some pianists have a way of articulating rhythm that is theirs alone, and Allison is one of them. Its there on Back Country Suite and its still there today. I cant describe it, beyond saying that it manages to be simultaneously fluid and choppy. Its as distinctive as, say, Stan Traceys and it tells us that Allison is a very good jazz pianist indeed. Al Cohn picked him out when he first came to New York, and he served quite a long period with Stan Getz.
Of all these albums, I think I like Creek Bank best. The mixture of Charlie Parker, Vernon Duke and four of his own Mississippi vignettes - not to mention The Seventh Son presents the full picture.
Having lived with these six albums again for a few weeks, I think I appreciate Mose even more than I did when they were new, I was young and he was Mr Hip. I suppose you appreciate the genuine article best when you realise how rare they are."
-Dave Gelly (February 2015)
"Hace un lustro que el pianista Mose Allison no graba nuevo material, algo que tampoco nos extraña dada su avanzada edad. Del último de sus discos, titulado 'The way of the world' (Anti, 2010), dimos cuenta en su día en esta misma página. La noticia estriba sin embargo en la reedición de sus seis primeros trabajos como líder, todos ellos para el sello Prestige, en tres CD que ha publicado recientemente Fresh Sound.
Del de Tippo (Mississippi, EE.UU., 1927) se puede decir casi todo citando una de sus frases: El blues es como una religión. El resto se resume en una discografía considerable, en las poco frecuentes pero intensas historias que a veces desarrolla en forma de canción y en su modo de tocar, pausado, sin estridencias ni ornamentaciones, totalmente sencillo. Y siempre en sintonía con la música negra, motivo por el que ha consagrado su vida al jazz y el blues desde que en 1956 viajara por segunda vez a Nueva York para formar parte de varios grupos. Precisamente entonces, en los días en que acompañaba a Stan Getz, dio forma al primer trío con el contrabajista Taylor La Fargue y el baterista Frank Isola; con él grabó su disco de debut, 'Back country side.' Para el resto de grabaciones de este periodo, Allison contará con nuevos músicos: Addison Farmer que se mantendría en el contrabajo y los bateristas Nick Stabulas (en 'Local color' y 'Young man Mose') y Ronnie Free ('Ramblin with Mose', 'Creek Bank' y 'Autumn song').
Como Bill Evans y otros grandes del piano, Mose Allison supo imprimir su impronta a una música que siempre sintió como propia. Otro clásico indiscutible del género."
Rafa Martinez (1 de Marzo, 2015)
-Cultura(s) / La Vanguardia
"Allisons biggest claim to fame was, I imagine, his Back Country Suite, although Parchman Farm must be a close second. Both are present on these three discs.
Pianistically, he is an able technician you couldnt be anything less in the company of people such as Getz, Mulligan or Cohn though he was hardly a Tatum or Peterson. Stylistically, he must be close to unique. I cant think of any serious imitators except, of course, Georgie Fames vocal delivery. His roots are deep in the Delta with Sonny Boy Williams and John Lee Hooker, but his was the Bebop era and, by the time he began to establish himself in New York, he had achieved a distinctive amalgam of down-home blues and the effervescent free-running lines of Bud Powell, with clear references to Monk and, to my ears, John Lewis. His blues-laden singing voice remains in Southern climes and complements his piano perfectly.
The performances on this 3-CD boxed set are all by his trio the format which has served him well throughout his career. In a total of 65 tracks we are treated to material that ranges from authentic blues (Eyesight To The Blind), standards (I Thought About You, Old Devil Moon), classic Ellington (Prelude to a Kiss, Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me) and a plethora of originals which reveal a talent as an accomplished composer with a capricious turn of phrase and harmony which is still fresh 60 years on. By all counts a true original."
Hugh Ledigo (Winter, 2015)
-The Jazz Rag, Issue #135
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