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December 2006

Houston Person with Bill Charlap
You Taught My Heart to Sing
HighNote Records

In another era, this album might have been labeled “mood music.” It consists of tenor saxophonist Person and pianist Charlap in a set of mostly romantic standards. Person is restrained throughout, even when the tempo moves beyond a ballad pace, and Charlap is the ideal, ever-sensitive accompanist. If you appreciate melody, you’ll dig this album.

The title tune (by McCoy Tyner, with lyrics by Sammy Cahn) is typical of the ballad outings, with Charlap’s trim lines and lovely harmonies lingering in the air and Person handling the melody with care and tender expression. Other ballad performances—“Where Are You,” “If I Ruled the World,” “Where Is the Love,” “I Was Telling Her About You” (cowritten by Moose Charlap, the pianist’s father) and “I Wonder Where Our Love Has Gone”—are equally warm.

Among the more swinging performances, “S’Wonderful” and Person’s “Don’t Forget the Blues” stand out. The latter reveals more of Person’s customary soulful style, and Charlap proves a sly, variegated accompanist and soloist by mixing bits and pieces of stride piano into his playing.

Originally published in December 2006
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