Mose Allison

the "william faulkner of jazz" died today. he was 89, so he had a good run. i didn't listen to his records obsessively, but always dug his persona--he was a white guy who could do the blues without seeming pandering or inauthentic--he was effortlessly cool.
I've been hit or miss collecting his records but have always thought of him(like Faulkner) as uniquely at a nexus of genres.  Jazz, blues, and pop.  Pete Townsend considered Mose a strong influence.   
Not sure about the Faulkner reference, tho I guess both were kinda Southern fried.  OTH, Mose was generally a pretty easy listen and Faulkner a tough read (for me, anyway), but either way, Mose will be missed.
he wrote a good handful of classics (everybody's crying mercy, parchmans farm, young man blues, etc.), which is harder than you think in that genre. i saw him live twice, i think (once for sure with bonnie raitt) and he was just like you picture him--a hep cat with a little bit of sardonic wit, but a very serious piano player.
One of my favorite Mose songs reminds me of a ditzy co-worker I once knew.  The words may not be exactly as he wrote them, but the best lines went something like:

If silence was golden you couldn't raise a dime
Because your mind's on vacation
And your mouth's working overtime.

I need to find that LP and give it a spin.
It's interesting to me that British bands did some pretty slamming covers of his material--I'm thinking of The Yardbirds' "I'm Not Talking" and the Who's "Young Man Blues."  Both are a far cry from the original sound of Mose at the piano.
his lyrics were very sharp, with a sort of angsty, rebellious edge--you can see where pete townsend took a lot of inspiration. allmusic also lists hendrix, elvis c. and lyle lovett as his followers, which seems correct.