A Memphis piano institution for more than half a century, Mose Vinson recorded a handful of unreleased sides for Sun Records in 1953 (subsequently liberated by Bear Family) and did scattered session work for Sam Phillips as well. Vinson began playing piano as a child in the Mississippi Delta, initially playing in his local church. By his teens, he had begun playing jazz and blues. In 1932, he moved to Memphis, Tennessee, where he played local juke joints and parties throughout the '30s and '40s. In the early '50s, Sam Phillips had Vinson accompany a number of Sun blues artists, most notably James Cotton in 1954. During that time, Phillips also had Vinson cut some tracks, but they remained unreleased until the '80s. For the next three decades, Vinson continued to perform at local Memphis clubs. However, he didn't play as frequently as he did in the previous two decades. In the early '80s, the Center for Southern Folklore hired Vinson to perform at special cultural festivals, as well as local schools. For the next two decades, he played concerts and educational and cultural festivals associated with the CSF. Mose Vinson died in Memphis from diabetes on November 30, 2002.
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