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In a Sentimental Mood

Houston Person

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Album Review

Houston Person is an excellent, underrated tenor saxophonist with a full, rich tone and a knack for well-constructed, tasteful, but never boring solos. That said, he's occasionally guilty of giving the people what they want, releasing smooth and conservative albums that are perfectly enjoyable to listen to, but somewhat beneath what he's capable of. 2000's In a Sentimental Mood is exactly that; this collection of standards features some excellent performances of classic ballads, but it's all so polite that it's hard to see the set as anything more than better-than-average background music. Foregoing his usual organ accompaniment, Person teams up with pianist Stan Hope, standup bassist George Kaye, and drummer Chip White for a classic piano trio-plus-sax lineup, and the song selection is undeniable: you just can't go wrong with tunes like "My Funny Valentine," "All the Things You Are," and "Don't Get Around Much Anymore." Yet there are so few risks taken on In a Sentimental Mood that one doesn't even have to listen to the album; anyone who knows these songs and Houston Person's characteristic sound already knows what this album sounds like. It sounds terrific, but it's hard not to want more.

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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In a Sentimental Mood, Houston Person
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