A musician who has been called “the William Faulkner of Jazz” has died. The New York Times reports that singer, piano player and songwriter Mose Allison died today at his home in Hilton Head, S.C. He was 89.
Allison “straddled modern jazz and Delta blues, belonging to both styles even as he became a touchstone for British Invasion rockers and folksy troubadours,” the report notes.
The musician told the Los Angeles Times in 1990: “I guess I’m the man without a category. People are always trying to categorize me as blues or jazz or folk. Some say I’m a jazz pianist that sings the blues.”
The L.A. Times adds: “Singer/songwriters have not been as common in jazz as they have in the pop music world. But Allison, along with Dave Frishberg, Abbey Lincoln, Bobby Troup and Bob Dorough, among others, opened the door to an expressive area of song underscored by the rhythms and harmonies of jazz.”
Here’s a clip of Allison performing one of his best-known songs, “Your Mind Is on Vacation” …