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Mose Allison: The Musician's Musician

Mose John Allison Jr, or just Mose Allison as we know him, is one the many jazz legends that has contributed to jazz and blues. Born on 11th of November 1927. Mose's fascination with music started when he discovered an ability to replay the tunes that he heard on the jukebox. He took a liking to boogie and blues tunes. He pursued his love for music playing in bands, playing the trumpet in his school band and was even writing his own tunes when he was just in school.

His inspiration at the time were the chartbusters of his time - Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Nat King Cole, Duke Wellington, Fats Waller and the likes. Even when he joined the army in 1946, he pursued his love for music by playing in bands and entertaining army folks. He played with many of the top musicians and bands nationwide during this period of time.

After he had done his time in the Army, he went back to music and joined a dance band as trumpet player, piano player and arranger. But he moved on from there and went on to form his own band of three who followed the musical styling of his favorite musicians - Nat King Cole and Louis Jordan.

After almost a year of incessant touring, he married his wife and went to college to finish a BA in English and Philosophy. Upon completion of his education, he went back to music and carried on playing in small clubs. His influences grew and to the list were added Mercy Mayfield, Charles Brown, John Lewis, Thelonius Monk and Al Haig.

His hard work paid off as Mose was appreciated and encouraged by his fans. He came to New York like every other musician at the time wanted to to make it big. In 1957, he got himself a recording contract with Prestige Records and recorded his first album - Back Country Suite - which was well appreciated and got critical acclaim. The success saw him perform with more of the greats of his time including his own Mose Allison Trio.

Then on it's just history in the making, with Mose Allison breaking more barriers and pushing the bill further each time. He inspired many a great artiste just like he was inspired when he started out. His music is the best combination blues, jazz and some very good lyrics - mostly humorous. Mose Allison is admired because he got all these three together in the just the right proportion which only speaks of his genius. The Who's Pete Townsend and ex Rolling Stone Bill Wyman have quoted him as their inspiration.

All the top artists of the world in all genres have covered his songs - the most revered among whom are Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, The Yardbirds and Bonnie Raitt. Blues singer Van "The Man" Morrison has even recorded an entire album in tribute to the man titled Tell Me Something, The Songs of Mose Allison in 1995. A one hour documentary Mose Allison; Ever Since I Stole the Blues directed by Paul Barnays was testimony to the fact that the intricateness and the intimateness of his music has to date made him the most well known jazz musician in the UK.

His Live 2001 release Mose Chronicles, Live in London, Vol.I won him a Grammy. The follow-up volume was his last release but there have been re-releases of his music in the past few years. A 2006 Long Island Music Hall Of Fame inductee, Mose, now in his 80th year, is still performing worldwide.

Mose's present residence is on Long Island,New York where he stays with his wife of more than 57 years. They have together have four children. Their daughter Allisa is an attorney while their other daughter is country star Amy Allison. They have one more daughter Janine is a working psychiatrist while the couples only son John is a Telecommunication specialist.

There have been many tributes to Mose Allison in many forms. While they will keep on coming, we can be sure that the 80 year old Allison is only going to play better and better while he tries to give himself room for improvement.


What's The Difference Between An Orchestra & A Band?

Different combinations of musicians are given different names, based mostly on personnel, instrumentation, and the style of music played.

An orchestra, traditionally, is made up of the following: strings (violins, violas, cellos, bass), brass (trumpets, trombones, french horns), woodwinds (clarinet, oboe, bassoon, flutes, piccolos), and percussion (snare drum, bass drum, cymbals, misc. percussion instruments). Although there are exceptions, an orchestra plays mostly symphonic music (Mozart, Bach, Beethoven, etc.) and most often performs in a concert setting. Most orchestras are seated the same way with the violins and violas on the conductor's left, cellos to his right, woodwinds behind the strings, brass in back to the conductor's right, and percussion, back center. Its quite common that a piano is included to the conductor's immediate left. A soloist usually takes this position as well. The average size of an orchestra is 75 to 100 players. Smaller groups of 50 or less are often called chamber orchestras.

The word orchestra is sometimes used in a less informal way such as the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain. The Boston Pops orchestra is known for playing popular songs of the day.

A concert band, unlike an orchestra, has no stringed instruments such as violin or cello. And where an orchestra usually has three trumpets, a band can have as many as twelve (as well as that many trombones and clarinets). Although concert band music can range from symphonic to popular to Jazz, many bands are known for playing marches such as The Stars and Stripes Forever and The Washington Post March. Some bands play both in a concert setting and perform as a marching band (such as in parades or as part of the entertainment at a football game).

The word band, of course, can also be used to describe a rock band, Dixieland band, or hip hop band. Personnel and instrumentation varies widely in these kind of groups as well as does the music being played.

A choir is made up entirely of singers (and often a piano accompanist) and most often takes the form of male and female vocalists divided into five voices (vocal ranges): soprano and alto (women) and tenor, baritone, and bass (men). Music written for choirs utilizes the five voices to create the parts that might otherwise be played by musical instruments. Choirs can be all male or female and there are many specialty choirs such as singers that perform only certain styles of music. Jazz choirs are quite common as are barbershop quartets.

An ensemble is a "catch all" phrase for a group of musicians. The term is mostly used to describe string ensembles. The term is sometimes used when describing a group of singers (e.g., a vocal ensemble). Typically, an ensemble contains four to twenty members. It is derived from the word "assembly."

The word combo (from the word "combination") is sometimes used when describing an ensemble, but for the most part, it means a four-or five-piece group, typically with guitar, bass and drums. You'll see the term most often when describing jazz musicians (i.e., a jazz combo).


On Cleaning a Soprano Sax

Anyone who owns a soprano sax can feel proud to have purchased a truly excellent musical instrument. It takes a great deal of talent and skill to play such and instrument. It also takes a bit of talentd and skill to clean one.

As much as we all wish it was not the case, you need to take a little time out to clean a soprano saxopone. The reason you need to do this is twofold. First, you need to clean the sax out in order to ensure it plays properly. Second, you do not want the soprano sax to degrade due to neglect. Don't be too concerned though about the effort required to clean out such an instrument. As long as you are aware of a few basic steps, you will find this is a really easy instrument to clean.

To clean the soprano saxophone, you will need to take it completely apart. This might be the easy part. Putting it back together will, however, become a lot harder if you lose any of the pieces. So, it should go without saying you will need to be very mindful of where you place the various parts when you disassemble your sax.

Once you have disassembled the soprano saxophone, you can take the needed steps to start cleaning it. You would be best served cleaning the exterior of it first. This is done through wiping and polishing it. Pay close attention to the presence of oil or fingerprints as they can commonly collect on the surface of a sax made of brass.

The various valves and openings on the sax may end up dirty or clogged. Very carefully clean this out with a nonabrasive swab. The mouthpiece for the sax will need to be cleaned out with a special mouthpiece brush. You are also well advised to apply alcohol to the mouthpiece in order to sterilize it and eradicate any germs which might be present.

The inside of the soprano saxophone and the outside neck of the sax will need to be cleaned thoroughly with a swab. You definitely would want the outside of the sax to be cleaned to the point that it is shining since this will make for an impressive visual display.

It is also advised not to wait to long in between cleanings. The longer you wait then the more difficult the cleaning process will be.

Once you have finished cleaning the various parts of the soprano sax, you can then put it back together.


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