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A Little Houston On the SIde

Houston Person

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Album Review

This budget disc from the 32 Jazz label is aptly titled A Little Houston on the Side. It highlights the jazz-soul of tenor saxophonist Houston Person: a leader, sideman, and producer. The material on this compilation comes from Person's stint with the now-defunct Muse label, and was recorded in the '70s, '80s, and early '90s. A Little Houston on the Side emphasizes the stripped-down raucous blues of Hammond B-3 heroes Joey DeFrancesco, Sonny Phillips, and Groove Holmes, although a highlight has to be Jack McDuff's "Walking the Dog," featuring the battling tenors of Person and Ron Bridgewater. The tenor-organ combo bases are beautifully covered here. Also represented are the soulful vocals of Etta Jones, pianist Charles Brown, and a duet with bassist Ron Carter. Person's haunting, breathy tone is used to great effect on the ballads "My Romance" and "I Remember Clifford," but this reissue also reminds us he can blow in a hard bop tenor style influenced by greats like John Coltrane and Dexter Gordon. Person's versions of "Equinox" and "Broadway" are classic examples of the hard bop influence on his playing. Recommended.

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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A Little Houston On the SIde, Houston Person
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