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Oh sure, it's an honor to play with big stars and all that...but the greatest honor of all is that my own son Andrew Dragoni plays with me .

here we are in Austin TX, working the crowd on guitar and Yamaha grand piano.


and speaking of stars----

Larry Coryell plays Roller's at Flying Fish

At first glance, it might seem an odd setting for a jazz legend: The upstairs room of a restaurant with chairs jammed together and two musicians he had never played with. And, for that matter, who had never played with each other.

But as Friday evening wore on, guitarist Larry Coryell seemed increasingly at home in the first of his two weekend shows at Roller's at Flying Fish in Chestnut Hill.

"It's a workshop atmosphere," Coryell said before the show, adding that he is actually less relaxed in a concert setting where he is farther from the audience.

He is 66 now, almost four decades past his groundbreaking fusion band the Eleventh House, and he has performed with Chick Corea, Miles Davis, Jimi Hendrix, Charles Mingus . . . actually, the list of whom he hasn't performed with might be shorter.

At Roller's, he was joined by two Philadelphia musicians, bassist Craig Thomas and fellow guitarist Jim Dragoni, who also produced the show. "We honor people here who are national treasures," said Dragoni, who previously brought Mose Allison to the restaurant.

The emcee was Paul Roller himself, weaving and schmoozing among the crowd of perhaps 50, wearing a T-shirt showing a pig playing a saxophone.

The musicians stayed firmly in the mainstream Friday, starting with Milt Jackson's "Bags' Groove" and following with compositions by, among others, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Clifford Brown, along with a few standards such as "My Funny Valentine."

Coryell's awesome technique never lapsed into sheer pyrotechnics as he sometimes seemed to play on and around the beat in the same chorus. On Mingus' "Nostalgia in Times Square," he played call and response patterns done by two horns in the original 1959 recording.

The exchanges with bassist Thomas grew more intense as the evening passed. Dragoni stayed mostly in the lower register but at times one had to watch the two guitarists' fingering to determine who was playing what.

In the solo ballads, some of the notes seemed to hang in the air forever.



Allison to play two nights at Odette's

Friday, November 19, 2004


Staff Writer

Mose Allison is beyond categorizing, but the 76-year-old churner of pithy lyrics and enduring melodies does fall into at least one enviable category, even if not of his own choosing: the unintentional creator of crossover material.

Singer-pianist-songwriter-philosopher Allison, who appears tonight and tomorrow at Odette's cabaret in New Hope, Pa., has long been known among jazz musicians as one of the most creative artists in the business. But the essence of what Allison does with his lyrics and songs has been spilling over into other genres for years. The universality of his sometimes caustic lyrics ("Your Mind is on Vacation") and his melodies have had a wide appeal to rock and pop musicians.

Van Morrison has recorded an album of his songs ("Tell Me Something - The Songs of Mose Allison" on Verve) and his other enthusiastic devotees include John Mayall, The Who, The Clash, Eric Clapton and the Yardbirds, Elvis Costello and Bonnie Raitt.

Allison grew up in Tippo, Miss., deep in cotton territory, listening to such musicians as Louis Armstrong, Fats Waller and Earl Hines while being exposed to jazz and dance music on the riverboats.

He moved to New York in the mid-1950s and was befriended by tenor saxophonist Al Cohn, who introduced him to such heavyweights of the era as Zoot Sims, Bob Brookmeyer, Lennie Tristano, Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan.

That experience led to his first recording contract with Prestige Records. His first album was "Back Country Suite," a collection that reflected life on the Mississippi Delta. The album received wide critical acclaim, but his big payoff came when The Who, a group Allison had never heard of, recorded his "Young Man Blues." He received a check for $7,000 and thought it was a mistake.

He continued to do 120 gigs or so a year, but eventually became more selective about where he would play.

"I used to do concerts in (continental) Europe, but no more. The audiences were great and gave standing ovations at the end of a concert, but they didn't understand irony. When they didn't react to the point of a song, it got a little weird," says Allison. "But in England, they share irony and I just came back from there, where we had some marvelous concerts."

As his fans know, Allison is quick with a quip and has a self-effacing charm. When someone recently asked how he felt about never being part of big-venue jazz festivals, he replied, "Just lucky, I guess."

Referring to relationships in modern ballads, he repeated a favorite quote: "Romantic love is a disease curable by marriage." And as for dealing with life, Allison has written:

"You say the world's a mess/It's anybody's guess/As to who will deliver that low blow/ You suffer from the strain/You don't dig pain/Well, tell me something that I don't know."

Mose Allison will perform with Jim Dragoni and Dylan Taylor today and tomorrow at 8 p.m. at Odette's, 274 S. River Road, New Hope, Pa. $35 plus $10 minimum. (215) 862-3000.


Some of my favorite players, Dylan Taylor (Bass), Kelly Meashey (Vocals) and Ed Watkins (Drums, Percussion). We met in January '03 to record three original compositions, "The Old Cafe", "I've Got You" and "Spring Swing". 

Walter Trout                                              

Walter Trout and Jim Dragoni shared the same roots in Philadelphia.  Jim's roots are in blues and jazz and Walter Trout is considered by many to be one of the greatest  contemporary blues guitarists.  The two met in L.A. and the music was instant magic as they traded licks at Perq's, Walter's hometown gig.   The air sparkled while these two reached a transcendent peak of blues power in their first meeting.

Click on the picture to learn more about Walter Trout.  Photo by Daniel Perales.  '53 Les Paul Courtesy of Pete Sardon of Southland Blues



Odean Pope   and I met periodically over the past year to explore the possibilities of the tenor sax and guitar.  Recordings are available,  Email us.








Ed Watkins

Ed is a drummer, percussionist and painter.  His timing is impeccable and his cymbal work is some of the most expressive you'll ever hear.   Standing in front of his art work