Sunday, May 23, 2010

On Meeting Mose Allison

I've always been a little too star-struck for my own good. If I meet someone whom we call a "celebrity", I tend to freeze up or feel so awkward I act like the klutz at the party who hasn't a clue how to socialize. This is especially true if those people are musicians.
Even though I know those who gain celebrity are after all, just people, some are simply more cool to meet than others. Here in New Orleans there are any number of notables, just read the local press. From international movie stars like Brad and Angelina to rock stars like Lenny Kravitz. And though I may get that awkward feeling if I met them, I doubt I'd take the time to write it down.
But I'm compelled to write about meeting and having an ever so brief conversation with the legendary pianist/singer/songwriter Mose Allison. (If you haven't heard of him, you've probably heard his songs so go look him up!) I saw his show last week at Snug Harbor. The show was a little weird in that the bass player was a.w.o.l. leaving him to play with just the drummer. I don't remember the drummer's name but it was clear they'd never played together making for a stiff performance transcended only by how cool the songs were. (That said, the drummer was an absolute monster and did an amazing job of comping the herky-jerky piano style of Mr. Allison)

The moment that inspired this posting came after his show as I left the balcony section. Snug Harbor is a small club with seats that overlook the main floor and stage. Before leaving I noticed that he had walked up stairs and disappeared somewhere. Just as I began my descent on the old stairway -- there he was following behind. And out of nowhere I observed myself extending my hand to shake his and utter a few words of appreciation and some small talk about getting through the show with no one on bass. He was gracious and self-effacing with that knowing intelligence of someone who has seen it all. There was no time for awkwardness, just the feeling that I was meeting and talking to one of the great artists of American music. This was so was flat-out COOL!.................that's why I had to write a few words........

Next post will be a salutation to New Orleans........

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