Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Houston Person Blue Velvet


Houston Person
Blue Velvet
High Note HCD 7090

Everything I Have Is Yours/ Wonder Why/ Blame It On My Youth/ Too Late Now/ There’s No You/ Be My Love/ I Want To Talk About You/ I Hadn’t Anyone Till You/ Blue Velvet

"Blue Velvet" is Person's latest High Note recording with Ray Drummond on bass and Grady Tate on drums joining Person and pianist Wyands for a disc of ballads and mid-tempoed swingers. Person is as marvelous here as on the Etta Jones’ date [this review originally appeared with a review of an Etta Jones recording] as he exhibits that warm, robust tone. The rhythm section also plays at a high level in complementing Person, whether Wyands lightly comping behind Person or  nice cymbal work from Tate. 
Houston Person on The 2015 Jazz Cruise 

Person’s solos are wonderfully developed, melodic, and do overstay there welcome. His playing is romantic without any overuse of vibrato or other devices. Person takes to heart Lester Young’s advice as to knowing the lyrics of the songs performed. “Blame It On My Youth” is typical as he opens having the horn “sing” the lyrics before adding more melodic embellishments. One also appreciates the unhurried and thoughtful character of Person’s playing throughout. Wyands’ own solos echo Person’s lyricism with his solo one on “Be My Love” being exceptional. It is followed by a short Drummond solo on bass, before Person reenters to take the song to its conclusion. This is an exceptional release that along with his playing on the Etta Jones disc shows Person to be among the premiere tenor saxophone stylists today.

This review was written in early 2002 for publication in Cadence, although I split this into two paragraphs.  The Etta Jones disc reviewed to is "Sings Lady Day." I likely received my review copy from Cadence. Photo of Houston Person on The 2015 Jazz Cruise © Ron Weinstock.  Here is Houston Person in live performance.

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