- Back Country Suite-Prestige (June 1957)
- Local Color-Prestige (January 1958)
- Young Man Mose-Prestige (1958)
- Creek Bank-Prestige (May 1959)
- Transfiguration of Hiram Brown-Columbia (May 1960)
- Autumn Song-Prestige (January 1961)
- I Love the Life I Live-Columbia (January 1961)
- Ramblin’ With Mose Allison-Prestige (1961)
- V-8 Ford Blues-Epic/Legacy (1961)
- I Don’t Worry About a Thing-Atlantic (June 1962)
- Mose Allison Takes to The Hills-Epic/Legacy (September 1962)
- Swingin’ Machine-Atlantic (February 1963)
- Mose Allison Sings-Prestige (July 1963)
- The Word From Mose-Atlantic (June 1964)
- Down Home Piano-Prestige (August 1965?)
- Mose Allison Plays for Lovers-Prestige (February 1966)
- Mose Alive-Atlantic (April 1966)
- Wild Man on the Loose-Atlantic (August 1966)
- I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinkin’-Atlantic (October 1968)
- Mose Goes-Columbia (October 1968)
- The Best of Mose Allison-Atlantic (1970)
- Hello There Universe-Atlantic (April 1970)
- Retrospective-Columbia (April 1971)
- Western Man-Atlantic (October 1971)
- Mose in Your Ear-Atlantic (1972)
- Mose Allison-Prestige (1972)
- Seventh Son-Prestige (1973?)
- Your Mind is on Vacation-Atlantic (September 1976)
- Middle Class White Boy-Elektra/Musician (May 1982)
- Lessons in Living-Elektra/Musician (1983?)
- Ever Since the World Ended-Blue Note (October 1987)
- My Backyard-Blue Note (April 1990)
- Mose Sings and Plays-Prestige (1991)
- Greatest Hits-Prestige-Prestige (July 1992)
- The Earth Wants You-Blue Note (1994?)
- High Jinks Trilogy-Sony (1994)
- Allison Wonderland-Rhino (1994)
- Pure Mose-(Ram-1994; 32 Records-1996)
- Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison-Verve (October 1996)
- Gimcracks and Gewgaws-Blue Note (January 1998)
- The Sage of Tippo-32 Jazz (May 1998)
- The Way of the World (Anti-) (2010)
by Jennifer Shurden (SHS)
Mose John Allison, a humble boy from Mississippi, was born on November 11, 1927, on his grand father’s farm near the village of Tippo. Tippo is near the eastern rim of the Mississippi Delta. Mose played piano by ear but began taking piano lessons at the age of five. His inspirations were Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller, Duke Ellington, Louis Jordan, and Nat Cole of the King Cole Trio. Mose played the trumpet in marching and dance bands in high school. He was also called upon to entertain at parties for which he made up his own songs. (http://members). Mose listened to “boogie-woogie” music like Pete Johnson, Louis Armstrong, and Nat Cole, which he says influenced his style.” (http://www.li.net/)
Mose started attending the University of Mississippi in 1945 majoring in chemical engineering but only went for one year. He then joined the military in 1946. He was in the army for six months at Fort McClellan, Alabama (bluesaccess). While in the army, he played for an army band in Colorado Springs for NCO and officer’s clubs. Mose then returned to the University of Mississippi as an economics major. While obtaining his major, he joined the dance band as arranger, piano, and trumpet player. Mose then formed his own trio totally dependent on the music of Nat Cole, Louis Jordan, and Eroll Garner for musical rhythms. After all of this, Mose finally graduated from Louisiana State University in 1952 with a BA in English and Philosophy.
Mose’s father taught himself to play the piano and was very confused when Mose began to play “boogie-woogie.” Mose said that his brother did what he was supposed to do by staying down there and farming. However, he says that now his brother has stopped farming and is broke.
When they were young, music was always in Mose’s house. Although his grandmother died when his father was only a small infant, Mose figures that his music talent came from her. In the Army, he played with the 179th Army Ground Forces band with a trombone player.
After a year of touring, he married Audre Mae in 1951. They have four children: Allissa, Amy, John, and Janine. He and his family moved to New York in 1956 where he began working in night clubs (http://members.aol). In November of this year, he turned seventy-one years old; however, he doesn’t act his age. He runs, exercises, plays gigs, has a brand new album, and he’s still looking for tunes. (http://www.bluesaccess) Mose is very laid back and feels that music is a way of life, not a job. (http://li.net)
Mose credits his interest in music to his dad, who was musical and played music in Mose’s hearing frequently. Bill Woods was one of the first guys to take any interest in Mose. Mose has written a whole book of musical arrangements for musicians in Mississippi. His first gig and first trio gig was in Lake Charles for six nights. Al Cohn got him his first recording date, and it consisted of: Mose, Al, Bobby Brookmeyer, Nick Stabulas, and Teddy Kotick in New York. He started recording with a small jazz label called Prestige; then he went to Columbia for three years and finally found a home at Atlantic for a decade and a half. His first album was named Cotton Country Suite but later, influenced by Bela Bartok, was changed to A Back Country Suite. This album didn’t sell any records for the first few months. However, Prestige signed him to do six albums in two years for $250 per album. The Who sang his song and that was the first time he made any money from an album. Allison stayed with Atlantic from 1961 until 1976 and just got a royalty check last year. In 1996, Mose did a song with Van Morrison and Georgie Fame which sold more than 200,000 copies. For that, he’s gotten paid for only $30,000. He signed with Elektra/Musician in 1981 and made two albums, Middle Class White Boy and Lessons in Living. This led him to Blue Note for four titles, including Gimcracks and Gewgaws in 1998. (http://www.bluesaccess). Critics say that Mose has a classical, ethnic, and jazz/blues style of music he listens to. He especially loves music from Africa and Asia because it’s spiritual and explains life’s ways.(http://www.li.net/). The song that was covered by The Who was Young Man’s Blues in the 1960’s. Currently, Mose is working with a trio that also includes Ratzo Harris, and Paul Motian(http://www.bluenote). In New York in 1956, Mose had his first record date with saxophonist Al Cohn. In 1957, he had his first contract with Prestige Records. His first album, Back Country Suite, evoked the Mississippi Delta. Mose has played with greats like Stan Getz, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Gerry Mulligan. In 1994, he released The Earth Wants You on Blue Note Records, which featured John Scofield on guitar; Paul Motian on drums; Ratzo B. Harris on bass; Joe Lovano on alto sax; Bob Malach on tenor sax; Randy Brecker on trumpet; Ray Mantilla on congas; Hugh McCracken on harmonica and Mose Allison. His most recent record was in February of 1998, and it was titled “Gimcracks and Gewgaws” on Blue Note Records (http://members).
Mose is known as the man without a category because when he is asked if he is a jazz player or a blues man, he says, “To me, they all come from the same place.” He also said that up until recently, all great jazz players have played blues and classical. He says the “only saving grace about Europe is that they take a look at the whole thing.” They still dig guys– 80 year-old-players over there, and they know a lot about the early music.” He also says,” In Europe, they know better what art is. In America jazz is not art” (bluesaccess).
Mose feels that song writing is essential as a means of expression. He has a rustic blues/jazz style and is also very humorous. According to some, Mose continues to create outrageously brilliant music and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon. (members.aol)
Mose played a show with the Rolling Stones on August 7, 1964. It is said that he could’ve been in the Tut-Ro-Van-Sum Theater at the same time as Muddy Water (bluesaccess). There was a biography written by Patti Jones titled One Man’s Blues which is available at Amazon.com and also at Barnes&Noble. Mose has written more than 150 songs and averages more than 150 worldwide performances a year. His songs have been covered by Van Morrison (who did a tribute album to Mose in October 1996), John Mayall, the Who, Johnny Winter, The Clash, Eric Clapton, Elvis Costello, and Bonnie Raitt. Mose has influenced rockers such as Pete Townshend, Ray Davies, and Bill Wyman of the Rolling Stones
UPDATE 2010: Mose Allison returned to the recording studio after a twelve year absence and in March, 2010, released a new album on ANTI- called The Way of the World. The album was produced by Joe Henry and a number of young players who add sax and slide guitar sound to the album. The new album also includes This New Situation, a duet with Mose’s daughter Amy. Allison is recognized for his “unique blend of virtuosic piano work, world-weary vocal stylings and lyrics.”
- 1927—– November 11, birth of Mose John Allison
- 1932—– Mose began piano lessons
- 1941-44? Mose played in high school bands
- 1945—– Mose started at the University of Mississippi in chemical engineering
- 1946—– Mose joined the military (Army)
- 1947?—Mose returned to University of Mississippi as economics major
- 1952—-Mose graduated from Louisiana State University with a BA in English and Philosophy
- 1953 —Mose toured for a year and got married
- 1956—-Mose and his family moved to New York; first record deal from Al Cohn
- 1957—-Mose released Back Country Suite with Prestige
- 1957—-Mose signed his first contract with Prestige Records
- 1958—-Mose released A Local Color with Prestige
- 1958—-Mose released Young Man Mose with Prestige
- 1959—-Mose released Creek Bank with Prestige
- 1960—-Mose released Transfiguration of Hiram Brown with Columbia
- 1961—-Mose released Autumn Song with Prestige;
- released I Love the Life I Live with Columbia;
- released Ramblin’ With Mose Allison with Prestige;
- released V-8 Ford Blues with Epic/Legacy;
- Mose signed with Atlantic
- 1962—-Mose released I Don’t Worry About a Thing with Atlantic
- 1962—-Mose released Mose Takes to the Hills with Epic/Legacy
- 1963—-Mose released Swingin’ Machine with Atlantic
- 1963—-Mose released Allison Sings with Prestige
- 1964—-Mose released The Word From Mose with Atlantic
- 1964—-August 7: Mose played a show with the Rolling Stones
- 1965(?)-Mose released Down Home Piano with Prestige
- 1966—–Mose released Allison Plays for Lovers with Prestige
- 1966—–Mose released Mose Alive with Atlantic
- 1966—–Mose released Wild Man on the Loose with Atlantic
- 1968—–Mose released I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinkin’ with Atlantic;
- released Mose Goes with Columbia
- 1970—–Mose released The Best of Mose Allison with Atlantic
- 1970—–Mose released Hello There Universe with Atlantic
- 1971—–Mose released Retrospective with Columbia
- 1971—–Mose released Western Man with Atlantic
- 1972—–Mose released Mose in Your Ear with Atlantic;
- released Mose Allison with Prestige
- 1973(?)–Mose released Seventh Son with Prestige
- 1976—–Mose released Your Mind is on Vacation with Atlantic
- 1982 —-Mose signed with Elektra/Musician and made two albums, Middle Class White Boy and Lessons in Living
- 1987—–Mose released Ever Since the World Ended with Blue Note
- 1990—–Mose released My Backyard with Blue Note
- 1991—–Mose released Mose Allison Sings and Plays with Prestige
- 1992—–Mose released Greatest Hits-Prestige with Prestige
- 1994(?)–Mose released The Earth Wants You with Blue Note
- 1994—–Mose released High Jinks Trilogy with Sony;
- released Allison Wonderland with Rhino;
- released Pure Mose with Ram
- 1996—–Tribute album in Mose’s name by Van Morrison was released; Mose released Pure Mose with 32 records
- 1996—–Mose released Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison with Verve
- 1998—–Mose released Gimcrack and Gewgaws with Blue Note
- 1998—–Mose released The Sage of Tippo with 32 Jazz
- 2002—–The Mose Chronicles: Live in London, Vol. 2
- 2010—- The Way of the World (Anti-).
- 2012 — honored with a blues marker in Tippo, MS, on the Mississippi Blues Trail
Things About/From Mose
Mose says of himself,” I’m no cynic, . . . I’m none of that stuff. I’m a realist, with a sense of humor. It’s a survival technique.” It is said that Mose is America’s most distinctive stylist and that he was a wry, hip, and a perceptive songwriter in the late 50’s and early 60’s. (http://www.bluenote.com/allison.html) Mose plays piano in a bebop/blues/swing blend that anyone can dig. He is a very clever, wry, songwriter and lyricist.
Some of the following things were said of Mose:
“He maintained a mellow tone that seemed to help the words roll out of his mouth…with a southern accent.”
Writing lyrics is something Mose said he” just does.”
There is no writing schedule, no hurry, no pattern; it just happens.”
“The phrases of his songs just come to him, if it leaves, he lets it go.”
“He compares the process of music to a writer and a novel.”
“Most of his experiences are the basis of his songs.”
“He is welcome to play just about anywhere.” Source: (http://www.li.net/~swrhs01/mosetlk.html)
- Booth, Stanley. Mose Allison-Still looking for that Bo’ Hog Grind. [Online] Available http://www.bluesaccess.com/No_33/mose.html, November 3, 1998.
- Jazz and Blues Icon-Mose Allison. [Online] Available http://members.aol.com/bluesagent/Page3.html, November 3, 1998.
- Kenney, Mike. Mose Allison, an interview. [Online] Available http://www.li.net/~swrhs01/mosetlk.html, October 29, 1998.
- Mose Allison at Edinburgh Queen’s Hall. [Online Image] Available http://www.marnie.demon.co.uk/mgall5/mose.html, October 29, 1998.
- [email protected] Allison Discography. [Online] Available http://www.mcs.net/~modika/mosedisc.html, November 3, 1998.
- [email protected].net.Mose Allison. [Online] Available http://www.mcs.net/~modika/mose.html, November 3, 1998.
- Mose Allison at Joe Segal’s Jazz Showcase. [Online Image] Available http://www.mcs.net/~modika/moseshow.html, November 3, 1998.
- Russo, Catherine.Mose Allison Discography. [Online] Available http://www.li.net/~swrhs01/mose.html, October 29, 1998.
- Sidran, Ben. Gimcracks And Gewgaws. [Online] Available http://www.bluenote.com/allison.html, October 29, 1998.