JJ 02/63: Mose Allison – Ramblin’ With Mose

Sixty years ago Gerald Lascelles thought Allison 'the displaced person among jazz pianists' but one delivering forceful, intriguing music. First published in Jazz Journal February 1963

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Apart from the opening track, where Allison’s vocal work is heard – he still cannot make up his mind whether he wants to sound like Carmichael or Pres­ley – this album features four-year old instrumentals.

He still remains the displaced person among jazz pianists, boast­ing a style which evades the pitfalls of “soul” yet never ripens to the point of falling from the tree into the ever waiting baskets which we critics care­fully lay out to catch the fruit in its definitive categories. In this instance the sleeve is amply bedecked with apple blossom, so that the implications of Adam, Eve, gardens, and even the ser­pent are at my finger tips!

It can no longer be claimed that Mose is in the formative stage, yet he has failed to mature in any specific direc­tion. He has a well-developed rhythmic sense, which he applies effectively in such pieces as “Old Devil Moon”, “Stranger In Paradise” and “Old Man John”. His technique allows him to tackle successfully such diversities as his own original “Minstrels”, a fast strumming piece, or the fiercely swing­ing “Ramble”.

For fleeting moments I think that this is the apparent disorderly approach of Bud Powell, without the technique to back his ideas, but the ideas never materialise in the same way. His most lucid track is “You Belong”; his most bluesy “Saritha”. Whichever way you analyse it, this man plays good two-fisted piano, lacking in texture, but forceful and intriguing.

Discography
I Got A Right To Cry; Old Devil Moon; The Minstrels; You Belong To Me; Stranger In Paradise (21¼ min) – Kissin’ Bug; Ramble; Saritha; Old Man John; Ingenue (17¼ min)
Mose Allison (p/vcl); Addison Farmer (bs); Ronnie Free (d). 18th April, 1958.
(Esquire 32-171 12inLP 39s.)