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Houston Person: All Soul

It has been a while since tenor saxophonist Houston Person dedicated an entire disc to soul jazz. The genre implies overt emotional content in the music. While this can be manufactured and manipulated, Person conveys it innately. Thus a performance such as this album’s title track or Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love” satisfies a need to trust the artist as a person as well as believe in his message.

It’s this way throughout the album, from the Jazz Messengers-bopping “Why Not” to the shuffle blues “Put It Right There” to the sanctified “Let It Be Me.” Person has a fine pair of frontline soulmates in trumpeter Eddie Allen (shades of Blue Mitchell, as liner-note writer Bob Porter observes) and guitarist Randy Johnston. The rhythm section–pianist Stan Hope, bassist Per-Ola Gadd and drummer Chip White–also proves most worthy.

Person often punctuates his lines with a shout. Sometime he drenches his phrases in blues grease. And sometimes during a ballad a single bent note is all it takes for him to create a feeling of yearning. There’s a vocal quality to his playing, as if he’s singing the melody. All Soul is another good one from a master soul man.

Originally Published