Monday, October 26, 2015


Tenor saxophonist Houston Person is eighty, and he’s been making soulful jazz for four decades. To date, he's made over seventy albums as a bandleader, the first dating back to 1966 for Prestige Records. His contributions as a sideman would take weeks to explain. Some of his more remarkable work was with his collaborator of thirty years vocalist Etta Jones. Like the late saxophonists Jimmy Forrest, Ike Quebec, and Gene Ammons, Person's sound is soul driven, and he’s adept at playing ballads. His new album “Something Personal” on High Note Records is full of them. “I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over and "Teardrops From My Eyes" are the only uptempo cuts on the album. You'll ride by them, anxious to get back to the ballads. Track after track, Person shows his real gift is turning a ballad into a work of art. Pianist John di Martino, bassist Ray Drummond, drummer Lewis Nash, guitarist James Chirillo and vibraphonist Steve Nelson are Person’s support network. Person play “The Way We Were,” and the title track with such raw feeling your ears will cry. The sideman who deserves a banquet is Steve Nelson. For a long time, he's been free jazz guru Dave Holland’s right-hand man, adding extra power and depth to Holland's ensemble. On “Something Personal,” Nelson shows he has a sweet and gentle side. On “Guilty” and  “Crazy He Called Me,” Nelson’s soloing will give your soul goosebumps. 
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