Houston Person – Something Personal

Houston Person "Something Personal"And here he goes again. At 81, tenor saxophonist Houston Person has recorded another of his typical, elegant and bluesy, mellow and sophisticated albums. Houston, a longtime collaborator with the legendary Etta Jones, has always been a musician who had a deep understanding and knowledge of the lyrics of the songs he recorded. Best heard in the opening track here, “The Second Time Around”, which he recorded with Etta for her 1999 album “All The Way”. Steve Nelson adds his lyrical touch on vibes here.

And “Crazy He Calls Me” has also been recorded by the two giants: on “I’ll Be Seeing You” from 1988. The slow tempo is one of Houston’s signature sounds. He can really croon and cry with his instrument, yet also can be one of the wailing kind, as on the uptempo and finessed “I’m Afraid The Masquerade Is Over” (also recorded with Etta for the 2000 album “Easy Living”). Steve Nelson again shines with a bright solo spot.

And “The Way We Were”, revisited from their live album, features a thrilling and moving piano solo by John DiMartino and essential bass work by the legendary Ray Drummond and strong and sensitive drums by the equally sensational Lewis Nash. The tempo goes down again for “Guilty”, where Houston displays yet again his romantic and highly emotional style and reminds me of some of the best work by Stanley Turrentine. And his sound blends well with the vibes again on this fine ballad where guitarist James Chirillo is added to complement the late-night mood of the arrangement.

The gentle Brazilian touch on “Change Partners” has more of those soothing elements and is played with delicate exuberance. And Houston really sings on this track. And swings heavily. The cool swinging style continues on “Teardrops From My Eyes” which is one of those juke joint pieces that will never run out of style. I really like him best though when he is playing one of those superb ballads where the lusciousness of his sound comes through most effectively, like on the title track of this date which was once again engineered, mixed, and mastered by the meister himself, Rudy Van Gelder.

For the remaining two tracks, the group goes back to swing mode on the powerful “On The Sunny Side Of The Streeet” and to ballad material on Benny Golson‘s “I Remember Clifford”, where each member gets the chance for a solo on this almost 10-minute version. Another solid Houston Person release.

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