Renowned jazz blues pianist, singer and songwriter Mose Allison died Tuesday at his home in Hilton Head, S.C. He was 89.
A native of Mississippi, Allison grew up on his grandfather’s farm, where he started taking piano lessons at age 5 and shortly after began writing his own songs. His musical career took off in 1956, when he joined a quintet with the prominent saxophonist Al Cohn. By 1957, Allison produced his first album “Back Country Suite,” which combined sounds evocative of his southern background combined with a blues emphasis.
Allison rose to fame with his most renowned album “Mose Allison Sings,” a collection of his vocals from his previous albums that paid homage to artists of the Mojo Triangle, a geographical and cultural region including New Orleans, Nashville and Memphis that is known as the birthplace of jazz, blues, country and rock ‘n’ roll.
Although Allison’s album count dwindled in the mid-1970s, he still continued to write songs. In 2006, he was placed in the Long Island Music Hall of Fame, the same year he recorded a live album entitled “Mose Allison American Legend, Live in California,” which was released in 2015. In 2013 he was honored as a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, which is the highest honor for jazz musicians.
Allison is survived by his wife of 65 years, Audre, four children and two grandchildren.