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Blue Velvet

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Album Review

Nearly indistinguishable from most of Houston Person's other albums for the High Note label in the late '90s and early 2000s, 2001's Blue Velvet has the same smoothly professional but slightly anonymous backing combo led by Richard Wyands' piano, a song selection taken mostly from the same set of classic songwriters, even a similar art design and the same engineer and studio. It's impossible to fault any of Houston Person's albums from this period, as the tenor saxophonist remains a sublimely gifted soloist with a gorgeous, well-rounded tone and a smartly melodic soloing sense, and the material, from the pens of Sammy Cahn, Billy Eckstine, and Oscar Levant, with the standard made popular by Bobby Vinton and David Lynch as the title track (beautifully done, with a lovely and concise solo by Wyands), is similarly first-rate. This is undeniably fine music, but there's so little to differentiate this album from so many others that Houston Person has done that finally, it's primarily of interest either to die-hard fans or those who have near heard any albums from this period in Person's career. Honestly, if you've heard one, you've heard them all.


Born: 10 November 1934 in Florence, SC

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

In the 1990s, Houston Person kept the soulful thick-toned tenor tradition of Gene Ammons alive, particularly in his work with organists. After learning piano as a youth, Person switched to tenor. While stationed in Germany with the Army, he played in groups that also included Eddie Harris, Lanny Morgan, Leo Wright, and Cedar Walton. Person picked up valuable experience as a member of Johnny Hammond's group (1963-1966) and became a bandleader in the following years, often working with singer Etta...
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Blue Velvet, Houston Person
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