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Lush Life

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Album Review

For decades, Joe Mooney's only Atlantic LP, Joe Mooney's Songs, was out of print — and if a collector was able to find a rare copy at a vinyl swap meet, he/she knew that the thing to do was grab it at once. Then, in 1999, the album finally became available on CD when Koch Jazz reissued it as Lush Life. An intimate session that finds Mooney on vocals and organ, Lee Robinson on guitar, Milt Hinton on bass, and Osie Johnson on drums, Lush Life shows just how charismatic a singer Mooney could be. Some of Mooney's admirers compared his casual, smooth, relaxed style of singing to that of Nat King Cole, and while that isn't a bad comparison, Mooney's highly accessible versions of "Lush Life," "My One and Only Love," "Polka Dots and Moonbeams," and other standards point to the fact that he was most certainly his own man. (Besides, Mooney was singing long before he ever heard Cole). Mooney swings throughout the album, but not in a forceful or aggressive way — his subtlety, in fact, was a big part of his charm. Lush Life is highly recommended for lovers of jazz singing.


Born: 14 March 1911 in Paterson, NJ

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '50s

For a period of time, Joe Mooney was a well-known jazz accordionist -- which is definitely a small field -- but he had a lengthy and a rather episodic career. He went blind in the early '20s but by 1926 was playing duets with his brother Dan on radio. They recorded from 1929-31 as the Sunshine Boys (also as the Melotone Boys); Joe played piano and both brothers sang while joined by some notable jazz all-stars. The siblings stayed together through 1936 (broadcasting on WLW Radio in Cincinnati). Dan...
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Lush Life, Joe Mooney
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