May 2000

Houston Person
Soft Lights
HighNote Records

The tenor saxophone style of Houston Person is consummately heartfelt and eminently hip, and this collection certainly adds to that image. Often heard in collaboration with vocalist Etta Jones, this is a third instrumental outing, following My Romance and Person-ified, also on HighNote. His confident fluency is evident throughout a roster of standards, including "Here's That Rainy Day," "At Last," "I'll Be Around" and "The Night We Called It a Day." Even the somewhat shopworn pop hits "Hey There" and "If" are transformed by Person's luminous delivery.
His colleagues on this release create a well-meshed quartet behind the sensuous horn. Russell Malone's guitar solos are freshly inventive, especially on "Do Nothing Till You Hear from Me;" pianist Richard Wyands lends his solidly swinging touch throughout, with a splendid solo on "It Might as Well Be Spring;" bassist Ray Drummond delivers two inventive solos; and drummer Grady Tate is an enduring constant. Dim the lights and set this one on repeat mode.

Originally published in May 2000
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