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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.