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Jazz - Released January 23, 1987 | Savoy

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Bebop - Released March 15, 1997 | HighNote Records

Most of Houston Person's late-'90s albums are interchangeable collections of standards recorded with a small combo (the rhythm section led by either a piano or an organ, depending on Person's whim) and featuring Person's sterling tenor saxophone solos on top of a conservative backing. 1997's Person-ified is one of the string, but it's more interesting than some due to a slightly more adventurous taste in song selection. The track listing still leans heavily toward standards, but this time, Person has reached a bit deeper than usual into the great songbooks, coming up with somewhat less-obvious choices like "There's a Small Hotel," "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," and "I'll Never Stop Loving You," all of which are excellent. Even oddball choices like Mr. Acker Bilk's novelty trad jazz hit "Stranger on the Shore" and the gospel-tinged coda "May the Good Lord Bless and Keep You" sound great. His backing combo is fairly anonymous, but never simply dull, and even at that, it means that Person's remarkable, underrated tenor playing is always front and center. Not bad at all. ~ Stewart Mason
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Bebop - Released May 27, 1997 | Savant

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Bebop - Released September 18, 1998 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released September 17, 1999 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released April 7, 2000 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released October 20, 2000 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released November 15, 2001 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released June 21, 2002 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released November 15, 2002 | HighNote Records

As the 21st century began, Houston Person was one of the last in a tradition of tough-toned but warm tenors able to straddle the boundaries between soul-jazz, hard bop, and soulful R&B. An expert at caressing and uplifting melodies, Person plays in the tradition of Gene Ammons. Person is in excellent form throughout this quartet/quintet date with pianist Richard Wyands, bassist Peter Washington, drummer Grady Tate, and, on four of the nine selections, guitarist Russell Malone. In fact, the combination of Person and Malone works so well that hopefully someday they will record a full album together. All of the tunes are veteran standards, with Person particularly digging into "A Sunday Kind of Love," "It Had to Be You," "Black Velvet," and "Canadian Sunset." Houston Person has recorded many fine albums for High Note and its predecessor, Muse, through the years. Sentimental Journey is a strong example of his talents. ~ Scott Yanow
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Bebop - Released September 26, 2003 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released September 7, 2004 | HighNote Records

One of the longest-lasting and critically lauded partnerships in jazz, the duo of vocalist Etta Jones and tenor saxophonist Houston Person ran from a concert in 1968 to Jones' death in 2001 on the same day their last album together, Etta Jones Sings Lady Day, was released. In tribute to Jones, To Etta With Love finds Person digging into various standards that Jones loved throughout her career. There is a melancholy, heartbreaking quality to these tracks. The fact that liner notes are included on an album without a vocalist only serves to further underline how much Jones' personality and style inform every note Person plays. The journeyman's warm, burnished tenor sound veritably weeps and more often soars through such classics as "Don't Go to Strangers," "For All We Know," and "Gee Baby Ain't I Good to You." Backing Person here are the always sensitive talents of pianist Stan Hope, guitarist Paul Bollenback, bassist Per-Ola Gadd, and drummer Chip White. Much like the singer Person knew, To Etta With Love is an understated, moving, and swinging elegy. ~ Matt Collar
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Bebop - Released March 18, 2005 | HighNote Records

It seems like every fall for the last ten years or so, jazz fans have been graced by the release of a new Houston Person record. The Texas tenor is one of the last men standing and 2005's All Soul shows he is standing as tall as ever. His gruff but inviting tone is steady and true, and a quick listen to the first track shows it hasn't dropped off at all. On the album he is joined by Eddie Allen on trumpet, Stan Hope on piano, Randy Johnston on guitar, Per-Ola Gadd on bass, and Chip White on drums for a mix of ballads and hard bop groovers. They back him quite ably on the arrangements, but it's hard not to wish Person took all the solos, especially when Allen and Johnston reel off technically proficient but soul-less solos (in comparison to Person anyway). Person as usual positively bleeds heart and soul on the ballads like "All Soul" and "Let It Be Me," which he effortlessly rescues from cheesiness, and romps through the up-tempo tracks like Hank Mobley's "Bossa for Baby," his own very Art Blakey-sounding "Why Not," and the loping "2 Rb's." The best moments of all come on Person's solos during a spirited take on Percy Mayfield's classic "Please Send Me Someone to Love," where you can picture him walking the bar and sending a packed club into an uproar as he reaches deeper into his soul and spills it all out. Too bad the proceedings come back down to earth when the other soloists take over, but then that is the nature of this record and so many like it that feature giants like Person. You have to wait out the chaff to get to the wheat. On All Soul the waiting is well worth it. ~ Tim Sendra
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Bebop - Released August 1, 2006 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released September 21, 2007 | HighNote Records

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Jazz - Released January 1, 2008 | Azica Records

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Bebop - Released May 6, 2008 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released October 23, 2009 | HighNote Records

Not all mellow, Houston Person's tribute to the softer side of jazz has its moments based on the laid-back timbre of his soul rather than a program consisting of only ballads. The tenor sax he wields certainly reflects the tradition established by Ben Webster in its soul-drenched tone, but is not as vocally pronounced or vibrato-driven. The quite capable pianist John Di Martino is the one whose more enunciated notions are harnessed, while tasteful guitar by the underrated James Chirillo rings out in acceptance of Person's embraceable hues. In a program of standards and two blues jams, Person rounds into shape this quintet of true professionals to render themes that are harder to play slow than fast. The slower material includes the regretful, throaty ballad "Too Late Now," the totally restrained "To Each His Own," a poignant "Two Different Worlds," and the deep, mature take of "God Bless the Child." Ever cognizant of blue moods, Person is masterful in expressing his innermost heartfelt feelings, as on the easy swinger and obvious choice for this date, Duke Ellington's "In a Mellow Tone." Then there's "Blues in the A.M.," a basic jam with Ray Drummond's bass leading out with drummer Lewis Nash in an uptown style as Chirillo's guitar states its wise, sophisticated case. The most upbeat number is the closer, the fast hard bop three-minute quickie "Lester Leaps In," while in midtempo form, the opener, Bobby Hebb's "Sunny," is a typical choice. Conversely, the usual ballad "Who Can I Turn To?" is a bit amped up. Di Martino and Chirillo are known to kick things up several notches, but here are great tastemakers who fully understand Person's persona and growing importance as one who prefers an understated approach. That's not to say this marvelous tenor saxophonist has depreciated his talent as an adept technician, but at this point in his career he prefers this music on the mellow side, and has no problem staying interested in that mood, no matter the tempo. ~ Michael G. Nastos
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Bebop - Released October 5, 2010 | HighNote Records

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Bebop - Released October 11, 2011 | HighNote Records

Houston Person is a very versatile veteran tenor saxophonist who tends to get overlooked in critics' polls, yet his extensive musical resumé is ample proof that he is a jazz master. This 2011 session ranges from a duet to septet, with everyone playing compact solos, keeping all but one under the six-minute mark, a lost art in modern jazz. The rhythm section includes pianist John Di Martino (who regularly works with the leader), bassist Ray Drummond, and drummer Lewis Nash (whose respective resumés are likely as long as Person's), seven-string guitarist Howard Alden, plus cornetist Warren Vaché and trombonist Mark Patterson. Two less familiar jazz works stand out. The disc opens with the full septet playing a snappy rendition of Shirley Scott's "Blues Everywhere," with Person, Vaché, Patterson, Alden, and Di Martino all featured. Elmo Hope's "So Nice" is a perfect example of a midtempo bop gem, with a beautifully understated solo by Di Martino, Patterson's expressive chops, and the leader's buoyant, soulful tenor. There are several standards, including a richly textured "I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face" with Patterson's muted horn providing the perfect follow-up to Person's mellow opening statement, while the lush "Easy Living" suggests a late-night romantic atmosphere. The solo spotlight is equally shared by Vaché and Person in the shimmering, deliberate treatment of Duke Ellington's gorgeous "All Too Soon." Ironically, the longest track is a sensitive duet by Person and Di Martino, exploring a pair of Stephen Sondheim's show tunes, "Small World" and "Anyone Can Whistle." Highly recommended. ~ Ken Dryden