Jazz: Houston Person


Houston Person

Highnote Records


There are times when you just want to let the aural equivalent of a homey blanket wrap you in its reassuringly comforting embrace. American saxophonist Houston Person's new album offers just that sort of low-key warmth.

The 78-year-old stalwart is best known for his 30-year musical marriage to singer Etta James, with whom he partnered and produced. But he is also a band leader in his own right and this album showcases his assured tenor style. The programme is a solid line-up of standards such as the title track, Someday You'll Be Sorry, and Ill Wind.

Person's gently voluptuous sound carries the melody lines in straightahead fashion, but that does not mean he is boring. There is a lilting swing to his delivery, and he proves on numbers such as It's All In The Game that he can slide a blue note as well as flashier players. He just does not see the need for speed or densely convoluted improvisations.

He is accompanied by an equally spry rhythm section comprising bassist Ray Drummon, vibraphonist Chuck Redd and drummer Lewis Nash. The quartet deliver on the title's promise with a lighthearted set that does not compromise on musicality. It is the perfect stress-buster on busy worknights.

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