“[A]n American original,””Part of the Boss Tenor Tradition,” “rich, robust tone,” and “one of the great interpreters of the Great American Songbook.” These are some of the phrases I have culled from Bill Milkowski’s notes to the new HighNote Houston Person recording, “Moment to Moment.” Recorded at the studio of the legendary Rudy Van Gelder, Person is supported on this CD by Ray Drummond on bass, Randy Johnston on guitar, John di Martino on piano andWillie Jones III on drums with Terrell Stafford’s trumpet marking its debut on a Houston Person recording. This is a superb swinging band with some superb solos throughout in addition to Person’s wonderful playing.
And there is plenty of wonderful playing from the leader who throughout plays with intelligence and warmth. Person swaggers through with his driving hard bop original “Bleeker Street,” which also features fiery playing from Stafford and Johnson. His playing hits hard yet always displays a lyricism. One would be hard-pressed to name a saxophonist today who caresses a ballad like Person does on “I Cover the Waterfront,” where his tenor sings the lyric. The title track, from Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, finds the group swinging lightly and brightly, while Person delights with his feathery tone. While there are no low-points here, one must note the lovely bossa nova “E Nada Mais,” as well as the brisk, swinging treatment of the Billy Joel hit, “Just the Way You Are,” with his warmth evident as he states the theme on a performance that has sizzling high note work from Stafford as well.
“Moment to Moment” adds to the strong body of work Houston has produced on HignNote these past few years. He consistently plays at a high level with such a warm and robust tone with a lyricism that makes every new recording by him a joy for the listener’s ears.
This was written originally for Jazz & Blues Report from whom I received the review copy of this CD.