Sunday, June 8, 2014

Mose Allison - Swingin' Machine

Jazz fans may find this Mose Allison session unique among scads of releases from this laid-back, witty and original singer and pianist. Almost never found recording outside of the piano trio context, this album perhaps reveals the reason why: on a whole, adding horns to Allison's band just doesn't work that well. The trombonist Jimmy Knepper is of particular interest, in that he most often recorded under the intense leadership of Charles Mingus, a far cry from the loose and relaxed sound of Allison. His fellow hornman here is tenor saxophonist Jimmy Reider; not a very well-known jazzman but certainly competent in a swing style. If the leader had stuck to all vocal numbers this might have been a top drawer album. All the vocal tracks here are fine, with the song "Stop This World" rating among the best things this artist has recorded in a long career. It's the instrumental tracks that drag, however, since like any respectable pianist bandleader, Allison chooses to put the two horns out front for theme-solo-theme arrangements that would only be worth repeated listening if every other jazz performance ever recorded happened to vanish off the face of the earth. Allison's piano playing picked up some steam as the '60s wore on, so it is a shame he didn't revisit this concept at a later date. In all, an enjoyable album but a bit disappointing. - by Eugene Chadbourne, AMG

This recording represents a real departure for Mose in that he is fronting a quintet with horns instead of his usual trio. Jimmy Knepper on trombone and Jim Reider on tenor saxophone form a tight front line and both deliver the solo "goods" when called upon. Although Knepper is always a delight to hear---his quirky solo style was a very effective blend of Dixieland, Swing, Bop and avant-garde--Reider is the real surprise on this session. Prior to this release he had been heard on recordings only in occasional solos while playing in the saxophone section of Gerry Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band. His swinging style owes much to Zoot Sims, but he is very much his own man as an improvisor. Sadly, he died much too young in 1968. Mose of course, is Mose, and he is in fine form as both pianist, vocalist and composer. His "down home" vocals are especially effective on "Stop This World" and "If You're Goin' To The City," both delightful Allison originals that have stood the test of time. "Saritha" is a very swinging original instrumental by Mose whose sophisticated harmonic structure reminds us that one of Mose's earliest recorded appearences was with one of Stan Getz's early-50s combos.The uncredited arrangements for the two horns are both imaginative and effective and make this recording a unique "must have" for any Mose Allison fan. - by Bruce Armstrong, Amazon.com

Artist: Mose Allison
Album: Swingin' Machine
Year: 1962
Label: Atlantic Japan (24bit dig. transfer, 2013)
Runtime: 33:26

Tracks:
1.  Swingin' Machine (Mose Allison) 2:29
2.  Do It (Mose Allison) 4:34
3.  Stop This World (Mose Allison) 3:24
4.  Promenade (Mose Allison) 5:11
5.  If You're Goin' To The City (Mose Allison) 3:49
6.  Saritha (Mose Allison) 4:58
7.  I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues (Duke Ellington/Don George) 3:56
8.  So Rare (Jerry Herst/Jack Sharpe) 5:00

Personnel:
Mose Allison (Piano, Vocals)
Jimmy Knepper (Trombone)
Jimmy Reider (Tenor Saxophone)
Addison Farmer (Double Bass)
Frankie Dunlop (Drums)

5 comments:

  1. Fantastic! Been listening a lot to Mose lately. Many thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you very much

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry-- I'm stumped. I would love to enjoy this one-- but where it s the link?

    Thank you

    ReplyDelete

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