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Mose Allison
@ The Artists Quarter, June 6, 1998

Mose Allison
The Artists Quarter, 6/6/98
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp.
All rights reserved
Trim and fit, looking and sounding sharp, 70 year old Mose Allison hasn't lost a beat since he started recording over 40 years ago. His intricate and rapid fire piano playing often overshadows his smooth, non emotional vocals but not his biting, insightful lyrics. His jazzy piano stylings are also rooted in the region of the country he grew up in, the country blues of the Mississippi Delta.

He played a enthralling fusion of blues, jazz, pop, country and swing that had the packed house riveted to the keyboard and tuned in to his lyrics. His deadpan, dry humor was reflected in the lyrics of many of his songs like, "you call it jogging, I call it running around." He is also one of the smartest, and most astute lyricists writing today. Portraying an accurate yet ironic reflection of the life around him, many of his songs poke fun at the seriousness of life. He played a slow, sultry, urban rendition of the Jimmy Davis country song "You Are My Sunshine" where his piano playing and vocals were a moody counterpoint to the upbeat flavor of the lyrics of the song. He seemed to do the unexpected many times during this show which made for a very enjoyable evening.

Rounding out Allison's trio was Kenny Horst on drums and Billy Peterson on bass who provided excellent support to his distinctive playing. Both Horst and Peterson have played with Allison many times over the past 15 years and have even been on tour with him. The cabaret intimacy of The Artists Quarter was also the perfect stage for Allison's performance.

Mose Allison
The Artists Quarter, 6/6/98
Photo © 1998 by Tom Asp. All rights reserved
The Artists Quarter itself is a rare gem. Located in the basement of the McColl building (on the National Register of Historic Places) at Jackson and 5th St. in downtown St. Paul, the intimately small bar is a throw back to the subterranean jazz clubs found in Kansas City, St. Louis or New York 40 and 50 years ago. The walls are covered with an overabundance of famous and near famous, living and dead blues and jazz musicians. The club, in its third year at this location, is owned by musicians (Horst & Peterson) and features live jazz music 6 nights a week. The place just oozes with atmosphere and if you haven't been there yet, go soon. Call the Artists Quarter hot line at 292-1359.

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Copyright © 1998 by Ray M. Stiles
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