Albums

Bebop - Released September 21, 2000 | LucasRecords

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Bebop - Released August 25, 2017 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released February 24, 2017 | Savant

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Bebop - Released June 17, 2016 | HighNote Records

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Saxophonist Houston Person and bassist Ron Carter have a duo partnership that goes back at least as far as their two 1990 recordings, Something in Common and Now's the Time! Since those albums, the legendary artists have released several more duo collaborations, each one a thoughtful and minimalist production showcasing their masterful command of jazz standards, blues, and bop. The duo's 2016 effort, the aptly titled Chemistry, is no exception and once again finds Person and Carter communing over a well-curated set of jazz standards. As on their previous albums, Chemistry is a deceptively simple conceit; just two jazz journeymen playing conversational duets on well-known jazz songs. At face value, that is certainly what you get. The deception enters into the equation with just how masterful and nuanced Person and Carter are in each song. Whether it's the way Carter anchors the duo's yearning reading of "But Beautiful" with his languorous, doomy basslines, or the way Person's languorous rubato introduction joins up with Carter on "Fools Rush In," they never fail to find surprising and deeply emotive ways to interpret each song. Similarly, cuts like the poignant "Blame It on My Youth" and the dewy-eyed "I Can't Get Started" are endearing romantic numbers that cradle the listener in the warmth of Person and Carter's warm tones. Elsewhere, they deliver a gleeful version of Thelonious Monk's "Blue Monk," and summon the memory of Carter's former boss, trumpeter Miles Davis, with their jaunty take on "Bye Bye Blackbird." Ultimately, Chemistry is a lovely, heartfelt album of well-loved standards imbued with the duo's decades of experience. ~ Matt Collar
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Bebop - Released May 20, 2016 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released April 15, 2016 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released April 21, 2015 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released June 25, 2013 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released March 26, 2013 | Savant

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Bebop - Released September 11, 2012 | Rhino Atlantic

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Bebop - Released May 22, 2012 | HighNote Records

Larry Willis mixes standards, jazz classics, and potent originals on this solo piano release. The sessions have a late-night, ruminative flavor, starting with a loping take of "This Time the Dream's On Me." His shimmering rendition of "Lazy Afternoon" opens with a spacious improvised introduction, while he makes great use of space in his interpretation of this ballad. The Ellington-Strayhorn songbook is represented by the former's whispering "The Single Petal of a Rose" and the latter's haunting "Lotus Blossom," both played with restraint, as these timeless pieces require few embellishments. The pianist's originals are just as impressive. "Sanctuary" was written for a project that included strings, though his moving solo piano arrangement is no less moving, suggesting an idyllic, isolated beach hideaway on a clear summer afternoon. "Blues for Marco," named for his co-producer, has a whimsical air, while "Silly Blues" starts like a ballad but quickly shifts to a laid-back, closing-hour blues. Recorded over two days on a top-notch Fazioli grand piano, this solo piano CD is easily among Larry Willis' best recordings. ~ Ken Dryden
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Bebop - Released March 13, 2012 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released September 13, 2011 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released September 17, 2010 | Legacy Recordings

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Bebop - Released September 8, 2009 | HighNote Records

The Art & Soul of Houston Person is a unique compilation. The great saxophonist has recorded as a leader for labels such as Prestige, 20th Century, Muse, Savant, and is currently with High Note, where this appears. His tenure at Prestige is the only one longer than this one. As such, this massive, three-disc collection is drawn from a dozen High Note albums cut in as many years. The unifying factor in these cuts is that they were not chosen randomly to include simply stellar performances, but from his wide-ranging interpretations on standards; in addition, they were all recorded by Rudy Van Gelder at his studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ. There are 30 performances in all, including four that open disc one which are all new takes on tunes he'd tracked previously, but this time out with his current quartet of pianist John di Martino, bassist Jon Burr, and drummer Jerome Jennings. Some of the other players on this comp include pianists Bill Charlap, Stan Hope, and Richard Wyands, bassists Ray Drummond, Ron Carter, Per-Ola Gadd, Peter Washington, and George Kaye, drummers Grady Tate, Chip White, and Kenny Washington, and guitarists Russell Malone and Paul Bollenback. The readings of these tunes make for a very unified collection because no matter who the personnel are and what gifts they bring to the table, Person has a way of playing songs that not only retain their melody, but their melodic integrity; his is simply not interested in employing them as frameworks for showboat improvisation. His own inventiveness is in how warm and dignified a melodist he is. He sings through the horn with the emotional commitment of Ben Webster, the soul of Gene Ammons, and the studied elegance of Paul Quinichette and Frank Wess. Listeners will have a great time picking their favorites out of this morass of excellent material, but it is safe to say that Person makes virtually all of it compelling -- there isn't a dull second here. Whether it's "Sentimental Journey,"and "All The Things You Are," or "Blue Moon" and "Mack the Knife," these sides are drenched in classy sophistication and down-home soul. Highly recommended. ~ Thom Jurek
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Bebop - Released May 6, 2008 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released March 7, 2008 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released March 9, 2007 | Savant

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Bebop - Released October 24, 2006 | Savant

A veteran of many organ/guitar/drum jazz trios, guitarist Bob DeVos hasn't had a lot of opportunities to record as a leader, but his second Savant CD also allows him to share his abilities as a composer. DeVos is a bluesy, soul-infused player, well accompanied by organist Dan Kostelnik and drummer Steve Johns, and his brisk, rhythmic treatment of Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Mojave" gives it an entirely new character. The guitarist's lyrical "Shifting Sands" has a meditative gospel quality, while "A Different Dozen" puts a new twist on a regular 12-bar blues in an uptempo setting. Tenor saxophonist Eric Alexander, like the leader a veteran of the late Charles Earland's combo, is a special guest on several tracks, highlighted by the funky arrangement of the standard "Willow Weep for Me," which also adds percussionist Gary Fritz. ~ Ken Dryden
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Bebop - Released September 16, 2005 | HighNote Records

Guitarist Jimmy Ponder's trio date is very much in the style of the classic mid- to late-'60s soul-jazz sessions. His double-time version of "God Bless the Child" is a bit reminiscent of Richard "Groove" Holmes' hit version of "Misty," and the other standards are all interpreted with swing and soul. Ponder has an appealing sound that blends in well with organist Gene Ludwig and drummer Cecil Brooks III and results in accessible ensembles. Although few surprises occur, none are really needed, for this style of music always pleases organ fans and lovers of swinging soul-jazz. ~ Scott Yanow