Albums

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Bebop - Released March 6, 2018 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released April 21, 2017 | Savant

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Bebop - Released March 24, 2017 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released February 24, 2017 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released June 17, 2016 | HighNote Records

Booklet
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 21, 2015 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released October 21, 2014 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released June 17, 2014 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released May 20, 2014 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released September 24, 2013 | Savant

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Bebop - Released June 25, 2013 | 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 20, 2011 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released March 11, 2011 | HighNote Records

Jaki Byard was a one-of-a-kind, a jazz musician who was immersed in the history of jazz and could easily intermingle contrasting styles, not only in the midst of a performance, but an individual tune. Although he recorded several solo albums, nearly all of them were studio sessions. This compilation is a bit different, as it consists of solo performances taken from several different trio sets at the long defunct Keystone Korner in San Francisco between 1978 and 1979. Fans of Byard will be very familiar with his approach to many of these selections, which appeared on his solo piano studio records. A number of them don't differ substantially from their earlier versions, though that doesn't make them any less enjoyable, since many of Byard's solo recordings are out of print or hard-to-find imports. He made "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?" his own with his unique mixture of nostalgia, love for the city, and humor, inserting a few rapid-fire runs in the process. Like the previous song, "Hello, Young Lovers" was also recorded for his Prestige Solo Piano album and Byard included it as well in his performing repertoire for the rest of his life. He starts this Rodgers & Hammerstein ballad slowly, switching to a rollicking atmosphere that could be no one but him. His interpretation of "'Round Midnight" intersperses flashy runs and unusual voicings. The pianist had a great love for the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, so his closing medley of three gems from their vast portfolio is the perfect finale to this rewarding solo showcase of the late, great Jaki Byard. ~ Ken Dryden
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Bebop - Released September 14, 2010 | Savant

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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 January 27, 2009 | HighNote Records

It is hard to believe that Ernestine Anderson was within a few months of her eightieth birthday at the time of this 2008 session, but she shows the wisdom of a veteran vocalist in her interpretations of this collection of standards, ballads, and pop songs, often proving that less is indeed more. Well complemented by tenor saxophonist Houston Person (who was an important presence on so many of the late vocalist Etta Jones' albums), pianist LaFayette Harris, bassist Chip Jackson, and drummer Willie Jones, Anderson sings with a confidence that makes each song sound like a first take. She masters the catchy midtempo setting of "Make Someone Happy," a piece often played painfully slow in order to get a sense of drama, but her upbeat treatment is a fine alternative. She knows how to sing a ballad, demonstrated in her richly textured and soulful rendition of the timeless "Skylark." She is equally at home with pop material like Leon Russell's "A Song for You" and her superb, very deliberate take of "Candy," with soulful fills inserted by Person. This is a potent effort by a singer who remains very much in her prime. ~ Ken Dryden
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Bebop - Released August 15, 2008 | Savant