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My Romance

Houston Person

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Album Review

High Note Records, founded by the former owners of Muse Records, has retained some of the defunct label's more talented performers, one of them being Houston Person. Appearing as a leader, sideman, or guest on well over 100 recordings, Person uses his knowledge and experience to revisit nine very familiar standards with his big, full-bodied, soulful tenor saxophone. Although Person is the headliner on this set, pianist Richard Wyands gets a considerable amount of solo time. Wyands is right at home with Person, having been associated with a tenor saxman from the same school, if not the same class, as Person — Gene Ammons. Wyands is awarded an especially long solo on "Mean to Me." Person's arrangements can be imaginative. The title tune, "My Romance," opens with Person's deep saxophone with just Kenny Washington's brushes behind him, seguing into a Ray Drummond bass solo. Everything on the album is understated, with most of the tunes delivered in a slow, deliberate tempo. There's an occasional nod to medium tempo, as on "Love Is Here to Stay." Given the very intimate nature of the session, this recording could easily have been of a live performance from a small, smoky lounge. All that's missing are the tinkling glasses in the background and the light, knowledgeable applause of jazz fans who've dropped by to enjoy an evening of good music played by top jazz musicians. Those who prefer a harsh, more cutting element to their music may find this album somewhat too slick for their tastes. This session is a reminder of the pleasures that the intimate side of jazz offers.

Biography

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 the late singer...
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My Romance, Houston Person
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