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Mose Allison

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Mose Allison's voice is distinctive in the way that Miles' trumpet or Ornette's sax is distinctive: it is more than just instantly recognizable, it is a network of nuance that can on its own strength maintain interest through the length of a man's career. Mose's voice is the cornerstone of his music, but what makes his act ineffably beautiful is its depth. His piano playing is wonderful, not quite but almost on a level with his singing. And his bassist and drummer make welcome rhythmic, textura] and melodie additions to the sound. His is a tasty show. Mose's piano style is rooted in blues, and extends Monk's harmonie and rhythmic ventures into sounds that are beyond traditional musical boundaries. The danger of the blues idiom lies in its simplicity and predictability. Because the form itself cannot be relied upon to contribute musical interest, the work within the form must carry the music 's worth. Mose's fluid and captivating piano style is interesting in the full sense of the word, not to the extent that Oscar Peterson's or James P. Johnson's style is interesting, but bear in mind that the piano playing is augmented by the voice. His singing is jazzy blues, with a hip, subtle sliding quality that hits the ear solidly. He has one of the most pleasing voices ever put on a record, and it simply should be heard. Mose's lyrics are sophisticated, and they often tend toward the cynical. He does a version of Duke Ellington's "Do Nothing 'Till You Hear From Me" (and you never will). One of Mose's lyrics advises us not to worry because "Nothing's gonna be all right." He has a love song with a strange twist: "Your nolecular structure is really somethin' else." And he has some just plain joyful lyrics, he does a verson of Willie Dixon's "I Love the Life I Live." Bassist Jack Hannah has an artic├║late and rich sound, and holds nis own both in his ensemble playing and n his solo spots. Drummer Lee Charlton does superb work, providing a solid base rhythm and, on his cymbals, elegant counter-rhythms. He seems to come from the direction of Eddie Blackwell and Billy Cobham. Mose's singing produces a euphoric effect. The depth and dimensi├│n that results from the combination of nis voice with his thoroughly enjoyable piano style and the dynamic contributions of his sidemen make music that is a complex whole. It rewards the closest scrutiny. It is satisfying, indeed.