According to a press release from his son John, world renowned jazz musicians Mose Allison has passed away after just celebrating his 89th birthday on November 11.
Allison, a native of Tippo, Mississippi has penned around 150 songs and released over 32 LPs of live and studio albums.
Upon moving to New York City in 1956 to kick start his jazz career, Mose began playing with the likes of Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims, and Phil Woods, before forming his own trio of Addison Farmer on bass and Nick Stabulas on Drums, and releasing his first record Black Country Suite.
Even as an accomplished piano player, Allison’s distinctive style came from his conversational and easy-going vocal delivery, and it wasn’t until 1963 that a record label allowed him to release an LP entirely of vocal performances.
No stranger to controversy, Mose Allison was forced to remove his most requested song – “Parchman Farm” – from his set-lists due to some critics claiming that it was politically incorrect. Allison grew up on his grandfathers farm in the 1930’s and often found himself in the fields picking cotton. In an interview with Nine-O-Nine Network Magazaine at the time, Allison explained, “I don’t do the cotton sack songs much anymore. You go to the Mississippi Delta and there are no cotton sacks. It’s all machines and chemicals.”
Mose’s agencies and labels struggled throughout his career on the best way to market Allison’s distinctive style. Prestige tried for years to market him as a pop star, but Colubmia and Atlantic later tried to bill him as a blues artist. Jet magazine even once asked for an interview thinking that Mose was actually black.
Allison leaves behind his wife Audre and four children.